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April 21, 2024

New York scuttles 3 wind energy projects in blow to Biden, Hochul

The White House green energy agenda just suffered a noteworthy setback during a pivotal election year, and the full ramifications of the news have yet be fully revealed.

As Politico's E&E News reports, the state of New York has just announced its decision to scrap power contracts for a trio of offshore wind projects, in a heavy blow to the climate change agenda of President Joe Biden.

Cost challenges cited

According to officials in the Empire State, the decision to scuttle the plans was made in part due to a turbine maker's own move to cut some of its largest machines.

Though the projects at issue were meant to help with rising costs due to the inclusion of higher prices indexed to inflation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority ultimately could not come to agreement with the project heads once GE Vernova and LM Wind Power ended plans for an 18-megawatt turbine earlier this year.

Developers of the projects would have had to use a larger number of smaller turbines to generate the volume of electricity to which they had committed, something which would have sent costs rising.

The offshore wind industry has been hard hit by escalating construction and financing costs, with some estimates suggesting that the cost of such as project has risen upwards of 60% between 2021 and 2024.

As such, New York may be hard pressed to meet its ambitious goal of achieving 70% renewable energy by the year 2030 and to become a hub for the burgeoning wind power industry.

Reactions pour in

The news of the projects' cancellation is not just a hit to the Biden administration's green goals, it is also a massive disappointment to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who previously heralded what she believed was offshore wind power's ability to yield new jobs and clean energy.

A statement from Hochul's office on Friday said, “While GE's pivot has affected three planned offshore wind projects, Governor Hochul remains committed to building the offshore wind industry and protecting New Yorkers' wallets.”

“New York will continue to advance a clean energy future and take all actions to preserve a competitive process that ensures New York consumers are getting the best deal,” the statement added.

One project developer opined that the state's determination was the right one, “given GE Vernova's failure to follow through on their commitment to deliver an 18MW machine,” but noted that while unfortunate, the company was looking forward “to working with the Hochul Administration and NYSERDA to advance the next solicitation process in New York.”

Whether the failure of New York's plans for these three projects is simply due to an unexpected convergence of facts or is symptomatic of the nation's broader realizations about the folly of countless green energy boondoggles, only time will tell.

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