The scope of a new wind farm project off the coast of Jones Beach has tripled in just three months – and drawn interest from the Long Island Power Authority.
Winergy Power, a Hauppauge wind-energy startup, this week submitted a new proposal to a state power agency seeking to place a 940-megawatt wind farm in the South Shore waters – a plan that would place between 190 and 260 giant turbines across miles of ocean. (The number of turbines would be dictated by the output of turbine technology at the time the project starts in 2012, Winergy said.)
Their proposal follows last year’s rejection by LIPA chief executive Kevin Law of a LIPA-initiated wind farm by FPL Energy as economically unfeasible.
Winergy in January filed papers with regulators proposing a considerably smaller, 300-megawatt wind farm of just 86 turbines. Under the latest proposal, the turbines would be 12 to 15 miles off the coast. The company previously said the turbines would be 15 to 18 miles out.
Winergy president Dennis Quaranta claimed turbines as near as 12 miles would be visible only on clear days, and even then as structures one-eighth of an inch high.
The project’s scope grew after the company realized its initial plan would be limited by the capacity of a LIPA substation to which it had planned to connect.
Winergy now proposes connecting to a LIPA substation in Melville with larger capacity. The project would be built in three stages between 2012 and 2014.
Law, who last month met Winergy officials, said yesterday he’d consider a long-term contract to purchase energy from the wind farm after thorough review “if it made sense to the ratepayers.”
Winergy’s proposal “is certainly something we should explore,” if it passes environmental and economic scrutiny, Law said, “especially as oil hits $113 a barrel and the cost of fuel continues to increase. The economics of wind may be more favorable.”
The 940-megawatt proposal is one of three Winergy has proposed for the region. It has submitted plans for a separate 600-megawatt farm adjacent to the Long Island proposal that would include some 167 turbines and connect to a ConEd substation in Manhattan. Winergy has also begun a yearlong radar-based study of birds and bats as part of a plan to install three test turbines in the waters off Plum Island.
By Mark Harrington
17 April 2008
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