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Wind Farm possible off Rockaways if Gov. Cuomo acts quickly, say politicians

Clean power could come to New York City in the form of a wind farm off the coast of the Rockaways – if the governor acts fast.

The $2 billion- 4 billion project would generate hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs and up to 700 megawatts of power, utility officials said.

Elected officials are concerned that developers will build wind farms elsewhere if New York doesn’t issue a request for proposals by early next year.

“If New York does not go forward at an accelerated pace, then the jobs are going to go to other states,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), chairman of the Assembly’s renewable energy subcommittee.

He sent a letter expressing his concerns – signed by more than 40 fellow Assembly members – to Gov. Cuomo this month.

“There’s only a certain number of developers, and they’re going to have to decide where they’re going to get the best bang for their buck,” Hevesi said.

The New York Power Authority, along with Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority, filed an application last Thursday with the federal government to lease ocean space for the plant. It would be located at least 13 miles off- shore.

An official with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said yesterday it’s unclear when a decision will be made.

Meanwhile, Hevesi wants to make sure the plant isn’t already dead in the water – as other states are much further along in setting up deepwater wind farms.

The new facility, while increasing the city’s power supply, could paradoxically lead to rate hikes because it uses more expensive technologies, he said.

On the flip side, the project could also create 2,300 to 4,700 construction jobs and 85 to 170 permanent ones, according to a 2010 report commissioned for the state Power Authority.

The project would also be a boost for the environment, said Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, a group that advocates for renewable power.

“Offshore wind can provide energy without harmful air emissions and provide a hedge against rising oil and gas prices,” she said.

Bill Moore, CEO of Deepwater Wind, said his company is interested in building the plant, but he agreed the state needs to act fast.

“It’s a deepwater location that has really good winds that’s only 25 miles from downtown Manhattan,” he said.