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Offshore Wind Making Big Splash in New York

Developing offshore wind will be critical to meeting New York’s Clean Energy Standard. (Phil Hollman/Wikimedia Commons)
Developing offshore wind will be critical to meeting New York’s Clean Energy Standard. (Phil Hollman/Wikimedia Commons)
August 18, 2016

NEW YORK – The development of offshore wind power is finally taking off, and New York could soon be a major player.

America's first offshore wind turbine was assembled earlier this month, the first of five that will generate 30 megawatts of power off the shore of Rhode Island.

And according to Catherine Bowes, a senior manager for the National Wildlife Federation, an even bigger project awaits final approval in New York.

"Recently, Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo expressed support for the Long Island Power Authority committing to a 90 megawatt project to supply power to the south fork of Long Island, which would be a very important step forward," Bowes states.

Final project approval is expected after the state releases an offshore wind master plan later this month.

Bowes calls climate change the greatest threat to wildlife worldwide, and sees renewable energy as key to halting rising global temperatures.

On Aug. 1, the New York State Public Service Commission approved a Clean Energy Standard that mandates getting 50 percent of all power for the state from renewables by 2030.

Bowes says offshore wind will be critical to meeting that goal.

"What's needed though is a very clear commitment from the Cuomo administration to a long-term, large-scale offshore wind program," she states.

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed legislation requiring the state to generate 1,600 megawatts of power from offshore wind, enough to power more than 500,000 homes.

Bowes points out that the densely populated coastal areas of the Northeast provide few opportunities onshore to build large-scale, renewable-energy infrastructure.

"Yet just offshore, there is a major clean energy resource available that be developed in a very environmentally-responsible way," she points out.

Later this year, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will be bidding on a federal lease for 81,000 acres off the Rockaway Peninsula, considered a prime area for offshore wind development.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY