By Stephen J. Kotz
When the Long Island Power Authority’s board of trustees meets on Wednesday, January 25, it is expected to finally approve Deepwater Wind’s plan to build a 90-megawatt wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Montauk.
The project, which would produce enough power for 50,000 houses, is a key component of East Hampton Town’s goal of deriving all the energy used in town from renewable sources. Assuming Deepwater is approved and runs into no additional delays, the wind farm would be ready to go online by 2022 or 2023.
“We have completed negotiations with LIPA,” said Deepwater Wind’s chief executive officer, Jeff Grybowski via email. “We are looking forward to the board’s consideration of the agreement.”
Mr. Grybowski added the company believes the proposed wind farm “is the most exciting clean energy project ever proposed for Long Island.”
Sid Nathan, LIPA’s director of communications, confirmed by email on Wednesday, January 18, that the board would indeed vote on the project when it meets next week, but he gave no indication of whether it would be approved or not.
Gordian Raacke, the executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, who has long been an advocate for wind farm, noted that Governor Andrew Cuomo had given the green light for the project at a recent state of the state address on Long Island.
“The governor also positioned our state as a national leader in renewable energy by setting a goal for 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 and ultimately transitioning to a 100-percent renewable energy powered economy,” he said by email. “That’s bold and visionary leadership.”
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he too was looking forward to LIPA’s board approving the project. Later this year, the supervisor said he would like to schedule a public meeting, most likely in Montauk, to allow Deepwater Wind representatives to meet with members of the fishing community and other residents who may have questions or concerns about the project. Fishing advocates and others have raised concern that the turbines could affect wildlife and interfere with fishing.
The Deepwater wind farm seemed to be ready to go last summer after Thomas Falcone, LIPA’s executive director, said he expected LIPA’s board to sign off on it in July. Instead, the board unexpectedly tabled its vote until state energy planners could complete a blueprint for renewal projects across the state. Some onlookers suggested that the governor requested that the vote be delayed for political reasons.
Late last year, Deepwater completed the first offshore wind farm in the United States, a five-turbine, 30-megawatt development off Block Island that will provide power to both the island and Rhode Island.