Offshore Wind

The development of a major offshore wind (OSW) program is essential to New York’s effort to avoid the worst of climate change. We urge New York State to make a major commitment to a Power Purchase Agreement through its Clean Energy Fund of 5,000 MW of OSW by 2025 and 10,000 by 2030. We also support NYC making a similar commitment.

The federal government (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) has said that developing the tremendous offshore wind potential off of Long Island was their number one priority. The Governor’s recent veto of the proposed Pt. Ambrose LNG facility now allows this area to be developed for wind.

The University of Delaware, which authored NYSERDA’s report on OSW, recently said that the United States has moved backwards in the last decade with respect to wind due to overreliance on market forces.  The report said that the US could not avoid catastrophic climate without a major offshore wind program. The NYSERDA report found that the best way to lower costs for offshore wind was to commit to a large scale project.

A January 2015 Oceana report found that New York has 11.6 gigawatts of offshore wind potential. That’s enough energy to power over 9 million households.  They also found that 134 GW of off-shore wind off he East Coast is possible through a gradual and modest development over the next 20 years.

Whatever state builds the first major offshore wind project is likely to attract the infrastructure investment in manufacturing, shipping, ports, and supply chain that will position it to be the center of the offshore wind build out along the east coast. NYPA funded studies[1] show that a single OSW project could generate total economic activity of $1 billion in sales, 8,700 job-years and $610 million in wages for New York State. A 2014 study[2] by Stony Brook University found that if 2,500 MWs of projects were developed, Long Island would get 58,457 construction and operations phase jobs, as well as approximately $12.9 billion in local economic output;

Further, with the need to avoid future catastrophic events like Hurricane Sandy, there is evidence that an array of windmills off the coast of Long Island can mitigate the incoming force of future hurricanes. Additionally, because of the extended shallow shelf off the Long Island coast, the windmills could actually be sited beyond the view shed avoiding the kinds of controversies such offshore wind placement has caused in the past.

There is presently no offshore wind farm in the US. A small wind farm by Deepwater Wind has broken ground on Block Island off of Rhode Island. They are also proposing a small wind farm off the South Fork of Long Island.  Unfortunately their larger proposed project was rejected by the Governor-controlled LI Power Authority on the same day he announced he was stopping fracking. A major wind farm proposal off of Martha’s Vineyard was recently made by DONG (Danish Oil and Natural Gas), the largest offshore wind developer in the world.

New York recently received a grant from the federal government to coordinate with other northeastern states to develop wind. However, the Cuomo administration has stated that they are concerned about the relatively high cost of offshore wind and expect to proceed slowly.

[1] Economic Impact Assessment: Long Island – New York City Offshore Wind Project. Prepared for NYPA by AWS Truepower and Camion Associates. Contract No. 4500191884. at 10 (November 1, 2010.

[2] New York Energy and Policy Institute- Stony Brook University, “Offshore Wind Energy and Potential Economic Impacts in Long Island”, 12-13 (Nov. 24, 2014).