By William Opalka
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed the development of 2,400 MW of offshore wind generation off Long Island by 2030, the largest commitment to that energy source in the U.S.
Cuomo said the roadmap for developing offshore wind projects will be laid out in a master plan to be completed by the end of the year.
New York last year adopted a Clean Energy Standard that commits the state to generating 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.
The offshore wind commitment would provide enough power for 1.25 million homes and projects would be built out of view of onshore communities, according to Cuomo.
The announcement came a day after the governor took credit for the early closure of the Indian Point nuclear plant north of New York City by 2021, although plant owner Entergy cited low natural gas prices as the reason for shuttering the facility. (See Entergy to Shut Down Indian Point by 2021.)
Cuomo said a combination of transmission upgrades, energy efficiency and new renewable energy resources would replace lost generating capacity from Indian Point. Still, other clean energy sources would be needed to fill the gap before an adequate volume of offshore wind production could be put in service.
One proposed project 30 miles southeast of Montauk Point, the first phase of the massive Deepwater ONE project, would deploy about 90 MW of offshore generation by 2022.
The governor called on the Long Island Power Authority to approve that project, which has been stalled for months. State energy officials last summer requested a delay in project negotiations just as an agreement appeared to be in sight, and the agency’s board of directors failed to take up an expected vote on the project in December. (See LIPA Delays Vote on Offshore Wind Project; 90-MW Project Would be Largest in US.)
But Cuomo’s statement indicated that the project could be back on track, with the board now expected to consider a contract with the developer at its Jan. 25 meeting.
The project’s developer, Deepwater Wind, operates the nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.
The governor’s proposal also calls on state agencies to ensure environmentally sensitive development in a 79,000-acre federally leased area capable of siting about 800 MW of offshore wind off the Rockaway Peninsula. The project area 17 miles south of the peninsula was the subject of a federal auction in December, which attracted a record $42.5 million bid by Norwegian energy company Statoil Wind US.
Cuomo said agencies should work with affected stakeholders — such as fishermen, maritime industries, coastal communities and labor groups — to ensure proper development.
He also directed the Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to undertake a comprehensive study to determine the most rapid, cost-effective and responsible way to reach 100% renewable energy for the entire state.
“Gov. Cuomo’s plan to build 2,400 MW of offshore wind power by 2030 makes New York a national leader of this new clean energy industry,” Liz Gordon, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, said in a statement. “The governor’s powerful endorsement will spur billions in investment, create thousands of skilled jobs and generate clean, affordable and reliable electricity for New York.”
She added: “The myriad benefits of offshore wind power have attracted the vocal support of a broad, diverse and growing coalition that unites business, labor, environmentalists, developers, academics, community leaders and environmental justice advocates.”
Environmental groups last month called on Cuomo to commit to developing offshore wind off Long Island.
“We applaud Gov. Cuomo for listening to New Yorkers and committing to large-scale, long-term offshore wind in New York and moving New York’s first offshore project forward,” said Lisa Dix, senior New York representative for the Sierra Club.