Library filed under Offshore Wind from New York
The New York State Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on June 11 in East Hampton on the application by Deepwater Wind to install a power supply cable connecting the South Fork Wind Farm to a Long Island Power Authority substation near East Hampton Village.
An assemblyman is right in saying Long Island should be viewed as a community, not a commodity, by offshore wind companies.
Deepwater Wind, once poised to introduce offshore generated wind to the continental United States and specifically East Hampton, is mired down in a review process fueled by considerable community opposition. Its much-ballyhooed project, slated to land in Wainscott in 2022, may well be dead in the water, though no one associated with the company is saying as much.
Last week, Assemblyman Fred Thiele pulled his support for Deepwater, joining a coalition of commercial fishermen, Montauk and Wainscott residents, and others who think the proposed wind farm is a Trojan horse. “Fred’s comments are very significant,” Bragman said. “I intend to talk to him about it. It won’t lower the carbon footprint . . . this massive infrastructure in this tiny hamlet is unsettling.”
"[This] is the classic 'bait and switch.' What we were originally told about the project and its goals are no longer true. A project originally proposed by an American company to address the growing energy needs of eastern Long Island, now is to be part of the portfolio of an international energy giant, whose first decision was a 44-percent increase in the size of the project. We are left to imagine what other changes might be made or what other projects might show up on our doorstep in the future. . . . Because of the 'bait and switch' tactics of Deepwater/Orsted, I cannot trust them with my community's future."
Harris explained that the major reason the projects were based in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area was that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, had not completed a lease auction for the other areas in the waters off New York, and may not until this year’s end or next year. The current New York bid solicitation required that developers currently hold lease rights to their proposed projects.
Other residents, like Michael Wootton of Wainscott, were concerned the project was far more extensive than what they were privy to. The fear is that what BOEM is considering has doubled in size since it was first proposed, laying the groundwork for a larger plan. The plan submitted to BOEM suggests the project has grown to a 180-megawatt wind farm with two 230-kilovolt transmission cables coming to shore or to potentially an offshore substation.
The South Fork commercial fishing industry remains opposed to Deepwater Wind’s proposed offshore wind farm, and now several hundred Wainscott residents have opened another hostile front, this one specific to the Rhode Island company’s preferred cable-landing site, the ocean beach at the end of Beach Lane in their hamlet.
In the coming years, ratepayers across the state will see their electric bills increase by at least 76 cents a month to finance $2.1 billion of offshore wind development in New York. And that's on top of the roughly $2 per month increase in electric bills needed to finance a multi-billion dollar bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants -- two in Oswego County on the shores of Lake Ontario and another near Rochester.
Deepwater spokesperson Meaghan Whims cited the recent unanimous support of the Trustees for hiring a municipal contract attorney to represent the board in the negotiations of the lease, and said the company has taken it as a sign that the Trustees ultimately expect to hammer out an agreement with Deepwater—though she acknowledged that the application with the state also will account for the possibility that one or both of the town entities will balk when it comes to signing actual contracts.
Deepwater, all the attendees agreed, has been putting out misinformation and selling the town and the public a bill of goods. “It’s all about money,” said Brady, the Executor Director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and a vociferous critic. She believes the wind generators will harm the fish supply in a number of ways, not only putting fishermen out of business but also robbing us of a food supply. “They get the tax credits. They don’t care,” she said.
“Deepwater is looking for us to memorialize a lease agreement, but we don’t think we have enough details about what that entails to do that yet,” Mr. Bock said. “The town did road easements with them, and there’s probably a template for that, but we don’t have anything like that for landing a cable at a public beach. What if the cable becomes exposed? What about the concerns of EMFs and fish migrations? Those are major concerns for us. I and some other Trustees think we can probably deal with some of that within the lease.”
[N]ot everyone out here is impressed by Deepwater’s plans, or by Grybowski, or his whale. “The only thing green about this project is the money that’s going to end up in a bunch of hedge funders’ pockets,” says Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, who has been battling the plan since it was announced in July of 2016. “We don’t know what these windmills, or their high-powered transmission lines, will do to our fish. All we’re asking is, let’s take time to do this right, not rush it.”
Feds sought to help New York's wind initiatives
The Trustees are expected to hold an executive session during a meeting next Monday to discuss hiring special counsel to represent the body in negotiations over a community benefits package being floated by Deepwater Wind in connection to a request by the firm to land the South Fork Wind Farm power cable off Beach Lane in Wainscott. In order to do that, Deepwater Wind needs to secure easements from both the East Hampton Town Board and East Hampton Town Trustees.
New York state ratepayers will pick up the tab for the Cuomo Administration’s multi-billion dollar plan to jump-start the offshore wind industry, but most won’t benefit from the energy produced. Only consumers in Long Island and New York City will be able to access the wind-powered energy that’s going to be generated in the waters off the state’s Atlantic coast in the years to come.
The East Hampton Town Board last week pledged to grant Deepwater Wind an easement to lay power cables beneath town roads between Wainscott and a power substation off Buell Lane near East Hampton Village.
Newsday reported the project would add about $4 a month to the average electric bill. But there are automatic increases built in for 20 years, according to published reports, that will raise the price significantly above 20 cents a megawatt. Brady said that would make the price of energy “astronomical” to PSEG users.
“They are stealing our fishing grounds by placing them on our place of work. They are industrializing the ocean floor,” said Bonnie Brady, the executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association. ...Any discussion about mitigating the effect the wind turbines have on fish so they can coexist is ludicrous. “It’s like putting a junkyard in the middle of a farm field,” he said. “The noise and sounds aren’t natural to what has been going on for a million years.”