New York came one step closer to building the nation’s largest wind farm when the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) voted unanimously on January 25 to approve Governor Cuomo’s proposal for a project that will consist of 15 turbines. The South Fork Wind Farm is expected to generate three times the power of the Block Island Wind Farm, which came online in December 2016 with a capacity of 30 Megawatts of electric power.
In a statement released Thursday, Governor Cuomo announced that the South Wind turbines, which will be installed 30 miles off the coast of Montauk Point, could generate enough power for 500,000 Long Island homes. A master plan detailing the project and additional coastal sites for potential development will be released in late 2017.
While this is encouraging news, there is still a long way to go in order to fulfill the state’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions in New York by 50 percent by the year 2030 (only 13 years from now), which is already complicated by the early planned closure in 2021 of Indian Point – a 2,000 Megawatt powerhouse.
In addition, the new project’s cost is projected to be $740 billion, which will be passed on to New York ratepayers. The price of siting a wind farm in the ocean is increased by the complexity of transmission over the seafloor, concerns for protecting marine life, and the necessity of preserving shipping lanes. Wind power is clean power, but it comes at a much higher price than traditional base load sources of power such as natural gas and nuclear plants.
Offshore wind development is one important step towards clean energy generation, but New Yorkers need to know that it isn’t the silver bullet for meeting our enormous electricity demands. Expect more to come on this topic from New York State as it charts a course for our future power supply in the wake of many significant changes to our energy picture over the past year.
For more information on the South Wind project, refer below: