LIPA/FPL Request Offshore Approval for Wind Project

The potential for offshore wind energy developments in the United States has revolved around approval for the Cape Wind development off of Nantucket, Massachusetts for a few years now.

But the chances for an offshore development were doubled when the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and FPL Energy filed an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for authorization to install a wind energy park off the South Shore of Long Island. Filing the application with the USACE initiates an extensive Federal and State regulatory and environmental review process that will include ample opportunity for public review and comment. “We’ve reached an important milestone in our effort to bring a major renewable energy resource to Long Island so we can begin to break the stranglehold that OPEC has on our economy and environment,” said LIPA Chairman Richard M. Kessel. “Today we draw a symbolic line in the sand and say we’re tired of being held hostage to OPEC and other foreign oil producers, and we’re going to do something positive to develop an alternative energy resource that will heal, not hurt the environment.” The proposed offshore wind project is comprised of 40 wind turbines that are rated at 3.6 MW installed capacity, and will be clustered in an eight square mile area approximately 4.1 miles due south of Cedar Beach. The turbines would be capable of 140 MW of electricity at peak production, which is enough to serve approximately 44,000 average-sized Long Island homes. Members of the Long Island Offshore Wind Initiative, a coalition of about 30 environmental, consumer and faith-based organizations across Long Island, have long supported the effort to develop a project that would produce a significant amount of wind-generated power for Long Island. Philippe Cousteau, President EarthEcho International, a Washington D.C.-based marine science and environmental preservation group, also offered support for the offshore wind park. “We owe it to ourselves and especially our children to vigorously develop renewable energy sources such as offshore wind in the interest of national security, continued economic viability, public health and the environment,” Cousteau said. According to information contained in the permit application, the wind park is expected to result in an annual emission savings of 235,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 489 tons of sulfur dioxide (Sox), and 211 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx). To minimize the potential impacts of bringing the wind generated power to the Island via a 138kV marine cable the proposed development will use directional drilling to go under the barrier island that separates the ocean from the Great South Bay. Then the cable will use the path of an existing navigation channel to reach landfall in East Massapequa, and every attempt will be made to install the cable in conjunction with future maintenance dredging that is planned for the channel. Pending the outcome of the regulatory review process, the LIPA/FPL Energy offshore wind project could be operating by 2008. Kessel plans to join environmental leaders in launching an Energy Independence campaign aimed at Long Island’s major political, business and civic leaders on Wednesday. “The worldwide strain on available fossil fuel supplies and ever-increasing prices makes this situation a ticking economic time bomb for Long Island,” Kessel said. “It means we have to conserve more and use alternative energy technologies that use renewable resources to produce energy. Otherwise, our regional economy will be held hostage to foreign oil supplies.”

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