The Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees on Wednesday morning decided not to move forward with a proposed offshore wind farm 30 miles off the coast of Montauk as part of an overall plan to develop more renewable energy projects.
While LIPA has expressed plans to add 280 megawatts of renewable energy to the utility’s resource, a resolution at the end of the board meeting named several solar energy firms that will add up to only 122 megawatts of renewable energy for Long Island.
The resolution did not include a proposal for an offshore wind project, much to the disappointment of many advocates of green energy.
Instead, the board approved another request for proposals for the remaining 160 megawatts that likely won’t be complete for another 18 months, according to the Sierra Club, a national organization that advocates for renewable energy and has 60,000 members in New York State.
“This delay signals that the LIPA Board, PSEG Long Island and the governor were not serious about their commitment and are not going to uphold their commitment,” said Lisa Dix, the senior New York representative for the Sierra Club. “Their position is unacceptable. Long Islanders have been waiting for a really long time to have this promise be fulfilled. Delaying it means we’re not going to get the needed environmental benefits of renewable energy we need now.”
According to Kim Teplitzky, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club, supporters of an offshore wind farm spoke to the LIPA Board during a public comment period, urging members to move forward and select a company to build turbines.
Deepwater Wind, which is currently constructing the first offshore wind energy project in the United States—off Block Island—had submitted a proposal in March of this year to add 35 wind turbines to supply power to 150,000 homes on Long Island.
The wind turbines, each standing some 600 feet above the water, were planned to be constructed about 30 miles east of Montauk and 16 miles off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard. They would not have been visible from Long Island, but would’ve been connected to a local power substation by a transmission cable running 6 feet beneath the sea floor and then beneath roadways where it comes ashore.
Jeffrey Grybowski, the CEO of Deepwater Wind, on Wednesday afternoon said the company believes that LIPA’s analysis of the need for wind energy was “seriously flawed.”
“With today’s decision, LIPA/PSEG missed an opportunity to build a 21st century energy supply for Long Island and a new local industry employing hundreds for years to come,” he said. “Just this week in fact, New York’s flagship state university at Stony Brook issued a report finding that a new offshore wind farm would have no impact on ratepayer bills. Long Islanders suffer from some of the highest energy costs in the Northeast and the region trails the rest of New York State in renewables. Today’s decision by LIPA/PSEG does little to prepare Long Island for the future energy needs, save ratepayers money, or put Long Island laborers back to work.”
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