Local officials are calling for the E.F. Barrett Generation Station in Island Park to be repurposed for clean wind energy.
The push comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act on July 18. The law includes connecting the Empire Wind Project, an offshore wind energy-producing structure, to ConEdison’s Gowanus Substation in Queens. The state tapped Equinor Wind to build and operate the clean energy facility 20 miles south of Long Island, east of the Rockaways.
On July 22, State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty sent a letter to National Grid, which currently owns the Barrett power plant, and Equinor Wind urging them to relocate the cable-receiving connection site of the Empire Wind Project to the Island Park station.
“Located directly north of the prospective wind farm, [the Barrett Power Plant] would strategically place your interconnection point midway between Long Island and New York City, thereby generating the potential to provide both regions with clean energy and green jobs,” Kaminsky and McGinty wrote in the letter. “[The plant] has been underutilized for far too long.”
The Barrett power plant has been a controversial site in Island Park as LIPA continues to seek a tax reduction on the property, which residents, school officials and local elected officials have protested.
McGinty said Kaminsky is “once again proving his mettle,” and that he continues to advocate for Island Park.
“His deep and abiding concern for Island Park, the Island Park School District and all its residents is a shining example of what an elected official should be,” McGinty said. “I am proud to join with him in this most difficult project.”
The Empire Wind Project is expected to bring 800 jobs to New York and will begin operating by December 2024.
In an email to the Herald, National Grid spokeswoman Karen Young said that the utility fully supports the governor’s climate protection initiatives and is “committed to helping the state achieve its renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.”
National Grid’s units “operate under a long-term contract with LIPA to provide the electric customers of Long Island with their-day-to-day, reliable energy supply,” the statement continued. “We’re committed to fulfilling the terms of that contract.”
Julia Bovey, Equinor Wind’s director of external affairs, told the Herald that Equinor is exploring all options, however, “timing is tight” for phase one of the Empire Wind Project.
The company “expects to build another in phase two” and is open to using the Barrett power plant in the future, Bovey said.
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