The companies working on the Long Island-New York City offshore wind farm, which could generate up to 700 megawatts (MW), said on Thursday they had applied for a lease to build the facility in federal waters.
The companies comprise a unit of New York power company Consolidated Edison, state-owned Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and state-owned New York Power Authority (NYPA).
The parties said they had filed the lease application with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).
The companies proposed a wind farm of up to 350 MW, potentially growing to 700 MW to be located 13 to 17 miles off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula and Long Island.
One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes in New York.
Officials at the companies could not immediately say how much the project would cost. Industry experts estimated that a project of that size would cost $2 billion to $4 billion.
The companies did say in a statement the project could create up to $2.7 billion in new economic activity, including 2,300 to 4,700 jobs during construction and 85 to 170 permanent jobs, depending on project size.
The wind farm would help New York achieve its goal of meeting 30 percent of the state’s electricity demand with renewable resources by 2015, they said.
They said that since 2008-2009, when the companies started looking into the project, over 30 wind developers and technical firms had indicated a substantial interest in developing what could be the largest U.S. offshore wind farm.
There are several similar projects under development but no offshore wind farms in service in the United States.
This is not the first offshore wind farm proposed for the waters off Long Island.
In the 2000s, LIPA proposed the construction of a 40-turbine offshore wind farm that would have produced 140 MW of energy off the south shore of Long Island. But LIPA shelved that project after cost estimates substantially exceeded what was originally anticipated.
The companies said additional studies are needed but the work to date has indicated “the project can be economically productive, environmentally responsible, and technically feasible”.
BOEMRE, the federal regulator formerly known as the United States Minerals Management Service, will assess the application and “once it determines the application qualified, it will begin the federal lease acquisition process”, the firms said.
They gave no timeframe for BOEMRE to make a decision.
By applying to secure the lease, the companies said they intend to streamline the process for developers seeking to build the wind farm.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Dale Hudsonand David Gregorio)
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