The board of trustees of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) voted to approve the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, and the first offshore wind farm in New York. The approval of the South Fork Wind Farm, a 90-megawatt (MW) development, 30 miles southeast of Montauk, is the first step toward developing an area that can host as much as 1,000 MW of offshore wind power. The wind farm, which is out of sight from Long Island’s beaches, will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 Long Island homes with clean, renewable energy, and will help meet increasing electricity demand on the South Fork of Long Island.

The vote comes two weeks after New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on LIPA to approve the wind farm project and announced a commitment to develop as much as 2.4 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030. The 2.4-GW target, which is enough power generation for 1.25 million homes, is the largest commitment to offshore wind energy in U.S. history.

“New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long-term energy goal of supplying half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” Cuomo said. “This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change, and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers.”

The LIPA board approved a contract submitted by Deepwater Wind for the South Fork Wind Farm after a year-long process engaging the private sector for the best available clean energy generation ideas and detailed cost modeling. Other elements of LIPA’s South Fork energy portfolio include transmission enhancements and additional clean energy solutions such as battery storage and consumer electricity demand reduction.

The LIPA board approved a 20-year pay-for-performance Power Purchase Agreement, allowing the utility to only pay for delivered energy without taking construction or operating risk. Advancing technology and innovation reduced the project’s all-in wind energy price to be competitive with other renewable energy sources.

In addition to approval for the South Fork Wind Farm, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is continuing to develop an Offshore Wind Master Plan, outlining the state’s commitment to developing cost-effective offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New York. The Master Plan, to be released in late 2017, will show how additional New York coastal sites may be developed responsibly and will set capacity targets and commercial operation dates for each site. The state said it will continue to work closely with coastal community members, the fishing and maritime industries, environmental advocates, and other stakeholders to identify additional offshore wind energy sites to be included in New York’s Offshore Wind Master Plan.

Tom Falcone, LIPA’s CEO, said, “We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of offshore wind off Long Island’s coast and meeting Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard. This project is the right size, at the right location, and demonstrates how smart energy decisions can reduce cost while providing renewable energy and clean air for all of Long Island.”


Information provided by the office of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (www.governor.ny.gov).

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