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Southold Town Board needs more info before endorsing off shore wind farm

Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind is requesting support from Southold Town to build an offshore wind farm 30 miles from Montauk Point and 15 miles southeast of Martha’s Vineyard.

It would be the nation’s first 200-turbine, 900-megawatt offshore regional energy center, estimated to produce enough electricity to power 350,000 homes – about 10 percent of Long Island’s electricity needs – and displace over 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, East Hampton Patch reported in August.

But Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said at Tuesday’s town board work session that he is reluctant at this point to endorse the proposed alternative energy project, which is part of a broad request for proposal from the Long Island Power Authority for an alternative power station, he said.

East Hampton Patch reported in August that the project would connect to LIPA’s electric grid at a substation in Shoreham through a 98-mile, 600-megawatt undersea transmission network. The cable line would stretch from Massachusetts to New York, through the Long Island Sound, south of Block Island and between Connecticut and the North Fork.

Deepwater Wind first submitted an application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement in December 2010.

“I just don’t know enough about it yet,” the supervisor said.

Councilman Al Krupski said that Southold Town involvement in the wind farm is “very thin” at this stage, seeing as how the windmills are proposed for Rhode Island waters.

“And I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said. “This project will impact fishing and navigation. It seems they are looking for free public land. We have to look into this more closely.”

Russell added that Deepwater has proposed a staging area for the project in Greenport, which would in theory create jobs for locals. The board agreed that they were open for further discussion but not an official letter of endorsement for the proposed off shore wind farm.