The Long Island Power Authority and the offshore wind energy company Deepwater Wind have reached an agreement about the terms for a project off Montauk that would deliver enough wind-generated electricity to power 50,000 South Fork homes.
The CEO of Deepwater Wind, Jeff Grybowski, said this week that the company is hopeful the LIPA board of directors will ratify the contract agreement at its next meeting later this month.
A LIPA spokesman could not be reached for comment.
“We have completed negotiations with the LIPA team and look forward to the LIPA board’s consideration of the project at their upcoming meeting,” Mr. Grybowski said in an email message this week. “Our South Fork Wind Farm is the cleanest, cheapest and most supported new source of energy for the South Fork, and we remain confident that it will become a major part of New York’s clean energy future.”
The wind farm proposal calls for between 12 and 15 wind turbines, each standing some 600 feet tall, anchored to the sea floor about 30 miles southeast of Long Island, about midway between Montauk and Nantucket.
The announcement of the LIPA-Deepwater agreement comes on the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s annual State of the State address, in which the governor urged LIPA to move on what would be the state’s first offshore wind energy project and beyond.
The governor also set lofty renewable energy goals for the state, despite what is expected to be a skeptical, if not hostile, view of wind energy at the federal level under the incoming Trump administration.
Mr. Cuomo said he wants the state lawmakers to press for the construction of hundreds of wind turbines in the waters south of Long Island, where the federal Department of Energy just auctioned off the rights to 79,000 acres of sea floor for wind turbine construction, to create enough electricity for more than 1 million homes, by the year 2030.
“New York’s unparalleled commitment to offshore wind power will create new, high-paying jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, establish a new, reliable source of energy for millions of New Yorkers, and solidify New York’s status as a national clean energy leader,” Mr. Cuomo said in his address.
Deepwater Wind built the very first offshore wind farm in the United States, just three miles off Block Island’s ocean bluffs and visible from Montauk. The five 6-megawatt turbines, similar in size to those proposed for the second project, officially went “on-line” in December, though not all of the turbines are up and running yet.
The 12 to 15 turbines the company has proposed building, as part of what it calls its South Fork Wind Farm, would be another 15 miles farther offshore and could generate up to 90 megawatts of energy.
The state’s renewable energy division, NYSERDA, is working on an offshore wind master plan that is expected to map out areas suitable for the construction of as many as 100 more turbines south of the Rockaways, in the area of ocean known as the New York Bight.
Commercial fishing industry advocates and some wildlife groups have raised objections to the use of offshore wind turbines, claiming that the construction and placement of the turbines damages marine habitats, will disturb and drive away fish species, pose dangers to some rare birds and could wedge fishermen out of some sectors of the ocean. Several fishing industry groups sued unsuccessfully to halt the auction of rights for 79,000 acres of sea floor off the Rockaways in December.
Renewable energy advocates celebrated the governor’s goals this week.
“Governor Cuomo’s bold commitment to harvest New York’s abundant offshore wind power could make us a regional hub for offshore wind development, creating jobs and attracting significant industry investments, while allowing the state to reach its 50-percent renewable energy mandate,” said Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a renewable energy advocacy group.
In addition to the targeted goals of wind-generated energy development, the governor also called for the state to set a long-term goal for its own facilities to become 100 percent reliant on only renewable energy, a goal that East Hampton Town adopted for itself in 2013.