The Long Island Power Authority has approved the development of New York’s first, and the country’s second, offshore wind farm, the 90 megawatt South Fork Wind Farm.
The US offshore wind industry is, currently, not the world’s most impressive. The only project currently operational is the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm, which only began generating electricity late last year. Developed by Deepwater Wind, Block Island was a long time in coming, but it has spurred other East Coast states into action. During the middle of 2016, policy movement in New York and Massachusetts, as well as plans for a new offshore wind farm off the coast of Maryland, showed that offshore wind was an attractive option.
Announced Wednesday, however, the next step in the process has been officially approved, when the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board of Trustees approved a contract for the 90 MW South Fork Wind Farm, to be developed (again) by Deepwater Wind. The 15-turbine wind farm is expected to produce enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.
“This is a big day for clean energy in New York and our nation,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “Governor Cuomo has set a bold vision for a clean energy future, and this project is a significant step toward making that a reality. The South Fork Wind Farm will be the second offshore wind farm in America, and its largest. There is a huge clean energy resource blowing off of our coastline just over the horizon, and it is time to tap into this unlimited resource to power our communities.”
We first heard word of this back in June of 2016, when the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that it would be participating in the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) commercial offshore wind energy lease auction for sites off the coast of Long Island. A few days later it was revealed that LIPA was considering approval for the development of a 90 MW wind farm off the coast of Long Island.
The project came back into focus earlier this month, when the New York Governor, in his State of the State address, committed the state of New York to acquiring 2.4 gigawatts worth of offshore wind by 2030, and called for LIPA to immediately approve the South Fork Wind Farm.
“I’m calling on LIPA to approve a 90 megawatt wind farm,” Governor Cuomo stated in his address. “It’s enough to support 50,000 homes. They will not be visible from the beach. They will be 30 miles southeast of Montauk.
“Not even Superman standing on Montauk Point could see these wind farms.”
Unsurprisingly, the move has been warmly welcomed by environmental groups.
“We applaud the Long Island Power Authority and Governor Cuomo for their visionary leadership today,” said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Representative for the Sierra Club. “Building New York’s first, and the nation’s largest, offshore wind project is an historic step forward. Offshore will provide cost-effective, reliable and pollution-free electricity for Long Islanders, create jobs and new economic development opportunities for New Yorkers, and position the Empire State as a national climate and clean energy leader.”
“In just a few years, we will look back on this vote by the Long Island Power Authority as one of the pivotal decisions that launched American offshore wind power, a new wildlife-friendly, clean energy industry that will create tens of thousands of jobs and supply pollution-free electricity right where we need it,” said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager for Climate and Energy at National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud Governor Cuomo and LIPA for this bold leadership in seizing the golden opportunity far off our shores to protect our communities and wildlife from climate change.”
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