In 2017 Equinor Wind US, LLC was awarded the lease to study and develop OCS-A 0512, the area now known as Empire/Boardwalk Wind, in the New York Bight. On July 18, 2019, New York Governor Cuomo awarded Equinor Wind a contract to supply 816 MW of renewable offshore wind power to New York from the Empire Wind project in this lease area. Most recently, Equinor released a planned layout for this project, allowing anglers like us to get a sense of what the project will entail, as well as what the entire lease area could look like when built out.
The initial phase of this project will be able to power over 500,000 New York homes, with an expected operations date of 2024. The second phase will be awarded in the future.
The lease area starts about 14 miles south of Jones Inlet, Long Island and 17 miles east of Sea Bright, New Jersey. It extends approximately 22 nautical miles (nm) to the southeast, in water depths of between 60-130 feet (10-22 fathoms).
This triangle shaped area will have about 68 turbines at the top of the triangle that will feed New York (named Empire Wind) and then in the near future, at the opposite end, the possibility for another 130 turbines that will feed New Jersey or New York. Empire Wind will have a single substation and future buildouts will have two substations.
Recreational anglers with boats from all over the New York and New Jersey Bight will have open access to the windfarms – which will serve as massive artificial reefs, attracting gamefish species like black sea bass, tautog (blackfish), scup (porgy), bluefish, summer flounder (fluke), cod, mahi mahi, and tuna.
The developer has planned a number of steps to minimize impacts to habitat and other ocean uses. They are:
You can read their entire site plan here. It is important to note that this layout is not set in stone, and there will be opportunities to provide feedback to the developer. Anglers for Offshore Wind Power is committed to staying on top of this project and ensuring it adheres to our three principles of guaranteed fishing access, fisheries impacts monitoring before, during and after construction, and opportunities for public input throughout the process. Stay tuned for more!