Weeks after Long Island Power Authority chairman Kevin Law said he would terminate a planned 40-turbine wind farm off the South Shore, a second bidder for the project is expressing renewed interest in taking it on.
Bluewater Wind, a New Jersey-based company that proposed building a single line of turbines six miles along the Long Island coast, indicated that the cost concerns that torpedoed the project can be addressed by increasing its size.
Bluewater made news yesterday by announcing a $1.6 billion plan to build a 150-turbine project off the coast of Delaware. But even as they announced it, company officials expressed concern that the local energy company there might oppose the plan as “too expensive for ratepayers,” according to a letter from a Bluewater attorney. Bluewater said its price amounts to 11 cents a kilowatt hour. While Bluewater’s initial plan for Long Island encompassed 39 turbines set in a single line six miles from shore, its president yesterday suggested a larger plan could help address cost concerns that recently tanked it.
“Bluewater’s experience shows that large projects produce economies of scale that result in better electricity prices for customers,” said Bluewater founder and president Peter Mandelstam. “Bigger projects mean that the fixed construction costs such as installation vessels are spread over more turbines.”
LIPA, which selected FPL Energy’s proposal in 2004 but never signed a final contract as the price escalated, is expected to vote on Law’s pledge to shelve the project at a meeting of its board of trustees later this month.
Law yesterday, however, said he was willing to talk with Bluewater. “I remain committed to working with the Long Island WindWorks Coalition to explore the feasibility of a wind project on or off shore, and if Bluewater has something worthwhile to share with us I am happy to listen to them,” he said in an e-mail.
Though it came in at a higher price initially, Bluewater’s 2004 bid was never formally rejected by LIPA. LIPA spokesman Bert Cunningham declined to comment.
Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone expressed doubt Bluewater could manage the project cheaper than FPL’s high $800 million-plus price.
By Mark Harrington
14 September 2007
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