Some Environmental Leaders Support Increased Capacity of South Fork Wind Farm

A tour of Deepwater Wind's wind farm off Block Island. Peter Boody photo

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board of Trustees have announced it has increased its commitment to purchase offshore wind energy from the South Fork Wind Farm, a 15-turbine wind farm proposed 30 miles east of Montauk. While LIPA agreed earlier this year to a 90-megawatt contract for the project, on November 14, the board formally announced it would purchase as much as 130 megawatts. According to a press release issued by the Sierra Club late last week, the increase has the potential to reduce the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by the wind farm and will be able to supply energy to more than 50,000 homes originally projected.

While many residents have questioned the impact this increase in wattage could have on marine life and engineering for the South Fork Wind Farm, a handful of environmental and business leaders offered continued praise for the project through the Sierra Club late last week.

“We are witnessing an historic project for our island. As wind technology improves our clean energy future improves. Maximizing wind energy potential, minimizes our fossil fuel use, and that’s a legacy that all New Yorkers will be proud of,” Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment said. “Maximizing this project with state of art energy technology is a prudent way to help East Hampton to meet their 100 percent renewable energy goal.”

“Getting more power from the South Fork Wind Farm within the same footprint, thanks to more advanced wind turbine technology, is a smart move,” Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island said. “We commend LIPA’s board for approving a more cost-effective project while meeting a greater portion of our energy needs from an abundant and locally available renewable energy source.”

“We welcome LIPA’s proposal to purchase additional power from the South Fork Wind Farm, which will be constructed by Deepwater Wind,” John R. Durso, President of The Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO said. “The amended power purchase agreement takes advantage of continuing progress in the offshore wind industry at prices that are advantageous to Long Island’s consumers.  This is another big step toward a clean energy future and jobs in an emerging industry.”

“The offshore wind farm proposed by Deepwater Wind is an important step forward in building Long Island’s clean energy economy, creating new jobs in this industry and diversifying our fuel sources which is why the LIA has supported this project and now its expansion,” Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association said.

“We support and applaud the Long Island Power Authority’s proposal to bring even more job creating, renewable, affordable, reliable, pollution-free energy to Long Island,” Lisa Dix, New York Senior Representative for the Sierra Club said. “Expanding LIPA’s commitment to offshore wind is not only a good investment for Long Island’s electric customers, but will also curb climate pollution, create family wage jobs and new economic development opportunities for Long Islanders.  Today’s announcement further positions Long Island and New York as a regional hub for the offshore wind industry and as a national climate and renewable energy leader.”