Study Shows Long Island Coast Ripe for Wind Power

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has released a study evaluating the potential for using ocean-located wind generators to produce electricity for Long Island. The first-ever study shows that a maximum of about 5200 MW of electricity could be produced by wind generators placed in a 314 square-mile band that stretches three to six nautical miles off Long Island’s south shore and east of Montauk Point.

SOUTH SHORE, Long Island – April 25, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] By restricting the placement of offshore wind turbines to a smaller, 135 square-mile band about three nautical miles from shore, with water depths of 50 feet or less, about 2,250 MW of wind-generated power could be produced to meet Long Island’s ever-growing demand for electricity. Before any offshore wind turbines are constructed, however, additional study would be needed to determine potential environmental impacts and the costs associated with building and connecting the wind generators to LIPA’s on-island electric grid. LIPA will hold a pre-proposal meeting for interested wind generation developers on Tuesday, June 25, to gather further information and begin the process of soliciting proposals for offshore wind generation projects before the end of the year. Environmental groups are invited to participate in the selection process. The study, entitled ‘Long Island’s Offshore Wind Energy Development Potential: A Preliminary Assessment,’ was co-funded by LIPA and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). “The study shows that harnessing the wind to produce electricity for Long Island has tremendous potential,” said LIPA Chairman Richard M. Kessel. “It’s not without challenges, but the preliminary study demonstrates that it’s certainly worth moving forward with follow-up assessments to determine the best locations for siting offshore turbines and to obtain more detailed information on the costs and environmental benefits of offshore wind generation.” “Wind power is a win-win for Long Island,” said Neal Lewis, Executive Director of the Long Island Neighborhood. “It is non-polluting and can provide Long Island with an energy source free of Middle East political entanglements. Long Island environmental groups need to support this proposal and participate in a cooperative fashion in the review process that will now take place before the final plan is approved.” Since offshore wind development is new to the United States and has only taken place in northern Europe, the study focuses on broad issues relating to the state-of-the art technology and its applicability to the Long Island environment. The main objective of the study was to identify offshore areas that appear to have the best potential for wind energy development and to also examine the implications of delivering offshore-generated electricity into LIPA’s on-island transmission system. The study found that: -the most feasible offshore area for wind generators is a 314 square-mile band that stretches along the entire south shore and to the east of Montauk Point – a 100 MW offshore project would cost about US$150 to US$180 million – interconnection costs would range from US$40 to US$70 million – developing wind generators within the entire south shore band (which runs three to six miles offshore) could produce about 5,200 MW of electricity – developing wind generators in a smaller, 135 square mile band running three miles offshore could produce as much as 2,250 MW of power – most offshore wind generation developed in Europe has been done in water 50 feet or less in depth – the rotor hub for an offshore wind turbine would be 262 feet above the surface of the water, and rotor blades 164 feet long would make the tip of the rotor reach a height of 426 feet above the surface of the water – an initial assessment suggests the avian impacts should not be ecologically significant; however a more detailed study would be needed at specific site locations – the permitting process, due to multiple oversight entities, would take a minimum of three years. The offshore wind generation study is part of LIPA’s Clean Energy Initiative (CEI), which is a multi-year, US$170 million program implemented at Governor George Pataki’s direction to promote energy conservation and efficiency and to research, develop and implement the use of alternative energy technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cells. According to LIPA, the June meeting will bring together interested Long Island groups and wind generation developers to provide information to eventually draft an offshore wind generation Request For Proposals (RFP). Further studies would be planned. The meeting will begin at 11:00 a.m. at LIPA’s second floor Assembly Room in the Omni Building in Uniondale, New York.
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