Library filed under Offshore Wind from New York
With Lake Erie as his backdrop, state Sen. Chris Jacobs used Sturgeon Point Marina in Evans to introduce legislation establishing a moratorium, or halt, to the construction or placement of wind turbines along any fresh water body in the state.
State Sen. Chris Jacobs will hold a conference on Wednesday morning to announce new legislation that would establish an indefinite moratorium on the construction of wind turbines in any freshwater body in New York State.
“I’m petrified of them,” said Mark Phillips, one of the most experienced commercial fishermen on Long Island and one of the last operating out of Greenport. His chief concern, he said, is the turbines’ potential impact on the region’s vital squid fishery. Despite assurances that fishing will be allowed in the turbine fields, Phillips said, “Even with the mile spacing, I’m not going to take the chance.” He’s also read reports that vibrations from the turbines could affect whether squid will still move through their traditional spawning grounds. “The potential to lose the whole inshore squid fishery is real to me,” he said.
The dispute over spacing and orientation has already snarled the regulatory process for the $2.8- billion Vineyard Wind project, with news last month that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management decided to hold off on a ruling on the company’s application to install up to 84 turbines south of Martha’s Vineyard. The issues are also now being considered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
“The Cuomo administration appears to have violated state law” by forcing developers of state-subsidized offshore wind-power plants to cut costly deals with construction unions, the Empire Center’s Ken Girardin reported last week.
"Officials from Homeland Security confirmed to me that the major shadows cast by these incredibly large structures would make their radar systems useless in that Southtown’s coastline,” Jacobs said in a statement. “The frequency of illegal drug smuggling and human trafficking in this corridor is reason enough for me to oppose this wind turbine project."
Let’s assume New York paid the same subsidy as Maryland officials plan for their offshore-wind project. That would mean guaranteeing a payment of $131.93 per megawatt-hour. Based on last year’s average wholesale costs of electricity in New York City ($41.16) and Long Island ($45.05), that means the projects will need, and get, an annual subsidy of about $528 million.
Renewable energy advocates lauded the announcement as a record-breaking commitment to offshore wind projects. In June, New Jersey announced the previous largest offshore wind contract, selecting Ørsted to construct a 1.1 GW project off the coast of Atlantic City.
Wainscott resident Si Kinsella, who has raised concerns about the wind farm and sued the state to fully disclose the cost of the project, said it was important to have an independent expert review the application. “I think it’s a very sensible move to bring on some experts,” he said, adding that the town should have taken the step when the project was announced in 2017. “Better late than never," Kinsella said.
The developer of one of the largest of three proposed wind farms contemplated for the waters off the Hamptons has withdrawn its tentative plan in favor of sites to the west, and is urging the federal government to restrict turbines from East End waters, according to the Germany-based developer's top U.S. official.
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.