LIPA Approves Deepwater Wind Farm Off Montauk

Construction at Deepwater Wind’s wind farm off Block Island. Courtesy Deepwater Wind

By Stephen J. Kotz

Deepwater Wind’s proposed 90-megawatt wind farm off Montauk was approved by the Long Island Power Authority board of trustees on Wednesday, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced.

The wind farm would consist of 12 to 15 huge turbines that would be erected beyond the horizon so they would not be visible from land. The facility, which has been projected to be completed by 2022, would provide enough power to power approximately 50,000 houses on Long Island.

The wind farm is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to provide 50 percent of New York State’s energy through renewable means by 2030.

The project will also help East Hampton Town fulfill its 2014 goal of providing all the electricity consumed in town through renewable means.

The Montauk installation would be the first of its kind in the ocean off New York State. Late last year, Deepwater Wind’s five-turbine, 30-megawatt development off the coast of Block Island, the first offshore wind farm in the United States, went on line.

LIPA had been expected to approve the Montauk wind farm last summer, but the board unexpectedly postponed action. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signaled that approval would be forthcoming in a series of state of the state addresses on Long Island, in which he called for more wind power.

In those speeches, the governor called for a commitment develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind, which is enough power generation for 1.25 million houses.

On Wednesday, the LIPA board approved the contract submitted by Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island company that will include a 20-year agreement to purchase power from the development without contributing to construction or operating costs.

NYSERDA’s press release announced that LIPA also approved other, unspecified developments including, “transmission enhancements and additional clean energy solutions such as battery storage and consumer electricity demand reduction.”

“We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of off-shore wind off Long Island’s coast and meeting Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard,” said Tom Falcone, LIPA’s chief executive officer in a release. “This project is the right size, at the right location and demonstrates how smart energy decisions can reduce cost while providing renewable energy and clean air for all of Long Island.”

“This is a big step for LIPA, a bold step for renewable energy on Long Island, and the beginning of an offshore wind industry in the State of New York and the country,” said Gordian Raacke, the executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island. “We commend Governor Cuomo and LIPA for showing visionary leadership in the transition to renewable energy and thank all who have advocated for offshore wind energy over the last couple of decades.”

“The Deepwater wind project is a giant step ahead in meeting the goal of the Town of East Hampton to become 100 percent renewable for its electricity needs by 2020,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

“Clean, renewable energy is the future of New York,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. “Green energy sources, like offshore wind, not only will help satisfy the increased energy demand on the South Fork of Long Island, but it will also help grow our economy, create jobs, and safeguard the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”

“Wind and other alternative energy sources are critically important components in our overall energy strategy,” said State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. “This project will greatly bolster the East End’s energy reliability in an environmentally compatible manner, help stabilize rates, and create much needed construction jobs in the region.”