Just for the Record: Why New York’s Offshore Wind Plan Works

This letter originally appeared on the Alliance for Clean Energy New York blog and was republished with permission.

Some of you may have seen the recent missive in the New York Post from conservative writer and pundit Robert Bryce regarding Gov. Cuomo’s ambitious and smart plans for offshore wind in New York. (Read NYOWA’s statement on that here, but finish reading this blog post first!).

Last week I sent the newspaper a letter to the editor, which I’m guessing they’ve decided not to run. So we’re putting it here on the blog so that Bryce’s comments don’t go unaddressed. Here’s what we sent the Post:

To the editor:

Once again, Robert Bryce ignores the facts about offshore wind (“Cuomo’s latest green-power fiasco” Feb. 2, 2018).  First, he claims that NY’s plan to develop 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030 is twice as much capacity as exists in all of Denmark.  He didn’t mention that England has more than 5,000 MW of installed capacity and Europe collectively installed 3,100 MW of offshore wind capacity in 2017 alone.

Second, he complains that installing 2,400 MW will require installing “hundreds of platforms over more than 300 square miles” of heavily trafficked and fished ocean waters.  Since today’s turbines are 8 MWs and getting bigger, it will take 300 turbines or less to meet the Governor’s goal.  Assuming that they are all located within a contiguous 300 square mile area as he suggests, it would amount to 1 turbine per square mile.  Surely offshore wind farms can co-exist with other ocean users in an area this vast, as they have in Europe for nearly 30 years. 

He claims offshore wind will be “enormously expensive.”  What IS enormously expensive are fossil-fuel fired plants that contribute to global warming, unhealthy emissions and are very difficult to site.  Yes, offshore wind farms are also expensive to build.  But offshore wind turbines require no fuel, ever, and do not generate any emissions that contribute to global warming, respiratory ailments and a host of other public health problems. 

And the price of offshore wind will come down, dramatically, just as it has done in Europe.  As the pipeline of offshore wind projects grows, so will the high paying jobs that will be needed to build and maintain them.  NYSERDA estimates that the 2,400 MW that NY intends to build by 2030 will generate $6 billion in economic activity and 5,000 new jobs. 

Finally, he claims the Governor needs offshore wind because it’s so difficult to site on-shore wind farms. This ignores the fact that NY has 1900 MW of land-based wind operating now, and these turbines are happily coexisting with working farms and rural towns receiving tax payments. There is an additional 4000 MW of new wind projects proposed that are working their way through NY’s rigorous new power plant siting law.  Just last month the very first project made it through this process; and it was a wind farm, not a gas plant.

There’s a reason every governor, from Massachusetts to North Carolina, is aggressively pursuing offshore wind: it’s clean, will diversify our energy sources, generate thousands of jobs and pump billions into the economy.  

Lead image credit: CC0 Creative Commons | Pixabay


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Joe Martens is Director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance and a former NYS DEC Commissioner.

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