LIPA's board of directors voted on Wednesday to enter into a contract with Deepwater Wind to construct only the second offshore wind farm in the U.S., with the power being directed to the South Fork.
In the contract LIPA agrees to purchase the electricity generated by the wind farm for 20 years, starting in 2022, when the 600-foot-tall turbines are expected to start operation.
Jeffrey Gyrybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, said the company plans to construct between 12 and 15 turbines in the ocean 30 miles southeast of Montauk, at a projected cost of about $740 million, connecting them to a LIPA substation in East Hampton Town by a 50-mile cable running beneath the seafloor.
Construction of the turbines will be funded by Deepwater Wind but over the 20-year life of the LIPA contract the wind farm is expected to deliver more than $1 billion in electricity to LIPA. The turbines are expected to generate enough electricty to power about 50,000 homes.
Late last year Deepwater began generating electricty from five 6-megawatt turbines it constructed 3 miles off the coast of Block Island, the first offshore wind project in the United States. Those turbines are about 14 miles from Montauk and are visible from the shore near Montauk Point on clear days. The newly agreed-to project would more than twice as far away and not visible from land.
Mr. Grybowski said the company will start work on its design and planning immediately and expects to begin soliciting bids from wind turbine manufacturers later this year.
“This is a big day for clean energy in New York and our nation, Mr. Grybowski said in a statement released by the Rhode Island-based company on Wednesday. "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.”
Mr. Grybowski said the company will also start holding publlic meetings to discuss the logistics of delivering the energy to the East End. He said the company has been and will continue to hold meetings with commercial and charter fishermen, who have raised concerns and even sued over offshore wind farm plans, fearing that the construction and operation of the turbines will drive fish away from historic migration routes. Though the exact location where the turbines has not yet been determined the area the company has said it wants to erect them is near a renowned cod fishing region known as Coxes Ledge.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who earlier this month urged LIPA to ink the agreement and set a goal for 50 percent of the state's electricity needs to be supplied by renewable-source technology by the year 2030, applauded the historic vote.
"New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long-term energy goal of supplying half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030," Mr. Cuomo said in a statement released by his office shortly after the vote. "This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers."
The energy from the wind farm will be directed primarily to the East End, and specifically the South Fork, where LIPA has projected a growing deficit of energy supply to demand if new power sources or better delivery infrastructure are not brought online.
The Long Island Power Authority’s board of directors is expected to vote Wednesday on whether or not to enter into a contract with Deepwater Wind to construct a wind farm that could send enough electricity to power 50,000 homes a year to the South Fork.
If LIPA accepts the contract, as is expected, Deepwater would begin planning for the construction of 12 to 15 turbines it has said would be placed about 30 miles southeast of Montauk, about midway to Nantucket. The turbines would be connected to the South Fork by an undersea cable that would come ashore somewhere in Amagansett, according to preliminary outlines of the plans that have been made public.
The proposal in general, along with a broader consideration for much larger wind farms off the shores of western Long Island, have upset some fishermen who worry that the construction and operation of the turbines in the wind farms could upset traditional fish migrations.
The site of the planned South Fork Wind Farm, as the project is dubbed, is near historic cod fishing grounds known as Coxes Ledge.
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