Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

Offshore Wind Generation Project Proposals Sought

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), supported by a coalition representing over 30 Long Island-based environmental, civic and faith-based groups, has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking the development of the region’s first offshore wind park that could be operational by late 2007.

Uniondale, New York – January 30, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The authority’s RFP is seeking an experienced developer to build, own, operate and maintain -for a targeted 20-year period – an offshore wind park consisting of between 25 to 50 offshore wind turbines that would produce approximately 100 to 140 MW of electricity for Long Island. The project would be a major cornerstone of Gov. George Pataki’s announced objective of achieving a 25 percent target for the state’s electricity coming from renewable technologies within 10 years. The RFP indicates that LIPA would be willing to enter into a 15 to 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 100 percent of the electricity and environmental attributes that would be produced by the wind park. The authority would be responsible for connecting the offshore wind park to its land-based electric transmission grid via a cable that would run from an offshore substation to a land-based LIPA substation. Along with the RFP, LIPA also released the results of its Phase II siting assessment study, which evaluated potential locations for the wind park along Long Island’s south shore along with other key environmental issues. LIPA’s Phase I study, issued last April, demonstrated the high potential for developing offshore wind turbines as part of the island’s energy resource mix. “Wind power offers a huge potential for helping Long Island meet its ever-growing demand for electricity in an environmentally beneficial way,” said LIPA Chairman Richard M. Kessel. “It is essential that we carefully review all of the environmental, economic and engineering factors as completely as possible before any final decisions are made.” “An offshore wind park will not be built over night,” said Kessel. “There will be an extensive environmental review, continued outreach to local communities and commercial interests, and a thorough evaluation of the economic and engineering factors involved in such a project. Issuing the RFP and Phase II Site Assessment study are important steps forward in the effort to make Long Island the capital of Renewable Energy technologies, and in achieving Governor Pataki’s statewide goal of 25 percent energy renewables within 10 years to lessen our dependence on fossil fuel-generated electricity.” The Sustainable Energy Alliance (SEA) a coalition of some 30 environmental, civic and faith-based groups on Long Island have been working with LIPA, under the banner of the Long Island Offshore Wind Initiative (LIOWI), to help develop the scope of the Phase II Site Assessment and to help advance the use of offshore wind technology for the region’s energy needs and environmental benefit. “Our draft Citizens Energy Plan emphasizes the importance of advancing a major offshore wind project for Long Island,” said Kathleen Whitley, SEA’s program manager. “We are pleased that LIPA is as committed as we are to bringing the many benefits of wind energy to its ratepayers and our environment.” LIPA’s 60-page Phase II Siting Assessment identifies the general area off the south shore of Long Island that would be best suited for the wind farm’s location. The study evaluated a number of environmental, economic and operational factors to provide potential developers with the offshore area that offers the best opportunity for constructing and operating a wind park with the least environmental impact on the communities. The assessment restricts the placement of offshore wind turbines to a small, five square-mile area of open-ocean no closer than 2.5 nautical miles from shore, with water depths averaging about 60 feet. In addition to minimizing potential environmental concerns, the restricted offshore area is also in reasonable proximity to three land-based substations owned and operated by LIPA, one of which may be used to connect the wind turbines to the island’s electric grid. “This has been a very careful and deliberate process,” said LIPA’s Kessel. “It will continue to be a very careful and deliberate process. It’s also a unique process. The offshore wind park concept has a great deal of support from the environmental community on Long Island, which will be very helpful in gaining public support for what could be the nation’s first offshore wind turbines.”