Environmentalists and local politicians alike cheered the news on Wednesday that the Long Island Power Authority’s board of trustees had finally approved a contract with Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island company, that wants to build a 90-megawatt wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean off of Montauk.
Under the agreement, Deepwater will build the wind farm, which will include 12 to 15 giant turbines, and maintain it, while LIPA agrees to buy the electricity it produces.
The wind farm is expected to provide enough electricity to power up to 50,000 houses. That’s more than are in East Hampton Town, which has been relying on the project’s completion to help it reach its goal of providing all the town’s electricity through renewable means.
The wind farm will be the first in what Governor Andrew Cuomo hopes will be a series of installations off the coast of Long Island that could produce an astounding 2.4 gigawatts of electricity and help the state reach his goal of providing half of its energy through renewable means by 2030.
The wind farm will be only the second offshore wind farm in the United States. Deepwater completed the first, which is visible off the south shore of Block Island, late last year.
Sadly, the United States, the world’s reigning economic power and the largest consumer of energy, lags far behind Europe in the development of wind power and other renewable energy sources.
It’s doubtful that will change any time soon. It’s ironic that the Deepwater development was approved just a week after Donald Trump assumed the office of the presidency. Mr. Trump and the Republican majority that now controls the federal government have made it clear they would prefer to see the nation focus on promoting fossil fuels by expanding coal production, promoting questionable activities like fracking, and increasing oil and gas drilling in wilderness areas and offshore than embrace a future of clean energy.
For the short term, such a policy might result in abundant supplies of oil, gas and coal, but in the long term, it will only serve to divert more money into the coffers of the corporations that have hardly had the best interests of the American public in mind while resulting in more air pollution, disasters like Deepwater Horizon in Louisiana, pipeline spills, and, yes, global warming. And those aren’t the alternate facts, but the facts.