Deepwater Wind officials acknowledged this week that the turbines they plan to build in the ocean southeast of Block Island could potentially produce far more energy than called for in their contract with the Long Island Power Authority—and that the company is seeking buyers for any additional power they produce.
LIPA officials said this week that Deepwater has told the New York Power Authority that the South Fork Wind Farm could have the potential for up to 40 megawatts of additional power, beyond the 90 megawatts LIPA has contracted for, that would be available for the grid. The company has already submitted a request to the Independent System Operator, which manages the dispersement of electrical supply statewide, for 40 megawatts of power from what the ISO dubbed “South Fork Wind Farm II.”
When Deepwater representatives first brought plans for the South Fork Wind Farm to LIPA in 2015 and, later, to the East Hampton Town Board, they based its design on the 6-megawatt turbines the company had used to build the Block Island Wind Farm, and designed the application around the 15 turbines they would need to generate 90 megawatts.
But the largest offshore turbines being produced now can generate 10 megawatts of power each—and General Electric has a 12-megawatt model that could be available by 2020, when Deepwater expects to start building the South Fork Wind Farm.
Deepwater officials said that the larger machines that likely will be available to them do not mean they will simply build fewer turbines to produce only the 90 megawatts their contract with LIPA demands.
The company says it will still file its application for the 15 turbines as originally planned, and the single power cable connected to the PSEG substation in East Hampton, and try to find other buyers for the extra energy they produce.
“Since we originally proposed the project, technology has gotten better, and there is a possibility that we will buy a larger machine that will produce more megawatts,” Deepwater Wind Vice President Clint Plummer said this week. “We have a customer for 90 megawatts in LIPA and its ratepayers. If we have a turbine that is more than 6 megawatts then we would be seeking potential additional customers.”
The ultimate limiting factor on how much power the South Fork Wind Farm will be able to produce will be the capacity of the substation on land to disperse it. Deepwater’s analysis is that it may be able to handle 130 megawatts, at most, but that it might be considerably less, Mr. Plummer said.
He said that whatever the final output of the South Fork Wind Farm is, it would not change the permitting process or the size of the power cable that will come ashore in Wainscott.
LIPA Chief Executive Officer Tom Falcone last week noted that Deepwater Wind has submitted a bid to the New York Power Authority to sell additional energy elsewhere in the state, though the power would still flow to the East Hampton substation.
Mr. Falcone said the LIPA contract with Deepwater allows for “overproduction” from the wind farm and specifies that LIPA will buy whatever is sent to it at a discounted rate for anything over 90 megawatts.
The New York Independent System Operator, which manages the distribution of electricity from all sources throughout the state, has listed an additional 40 megawatts of power from a source it calls South Fork Wind Farm II on its queue of future power supplies, based on an interconnection request from Deepwater.
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