The nine-member Long Island Power Authority Board of Directors unanimously approved the purchase of offshore wind power from the proposed Deepwater ONE site off the coast of Montauk Wednesday morning.
The proposal by Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind would be the second and largest offshore wind turbine project in United States waters, with 15 turbines providing 90 megawatts of power to the East End of Long Island.
The news comes on the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment in his State of the State address two weeks ago to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power 1.25 million homes.
“This is a big day for clean energy in New York and our nation,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a statement after the LIPA board vote. “Governor Cuomo has set a bold vision for a clean energy future, and this project is a significant step toward making that a reality. The South Fork Wind Farm will be the second offshore wind farm in America, and its largest. There is a huge clean energy resource blowing off of our coastline just over the horizon, and it is time to tap into this unlimited resource to power our communities.”
Deepwater Wind is also the developer of a smaller project off the coast of Block Island, the first in the nation, which went online in December 2016.
The new Deepwater ONE project includes 15 six-megawatt turbines and would generate enough energy to power approximately 50,000 homes. Deepwater Wind has enough space at their site 30 miles off of Montauk to install 200 turbines, and received a 30-year lease on the 256-square-acre site in 2013 from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
The electricity from the turbines would tie into the South Fork’s electric grid with two new GE battery energy storage systems at existing electric substations in Montauk and Wainscott.
Today’s vote had originally been slated for July of 2016, but was postponed because LIPA officials wanted to wait to receive a blueprint for offshore wind from the New York State Energy and Research Development Agency.
Governor Cuomo put the state’s weight behind the project in his State of the State commitment.
“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,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement Wednesday. “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 $740 million project is being constructed with funding from Deepwater Wind’s equity investors and financiers. 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.
Deepwater Wind spokeswoman Meaghan Wims said Wednesday that “the power price is the lowest-cost option in this RFP, and very competitive with renewables across Long Island,” which typically cost about 16 cents per kilowatt/hour.
“We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of off-shore wind off Long Island’s coast and meeting Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard,” said LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone. “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.”
“This offshore wind project is exciting news for Long Island as our region continues to diversify its energy supply and builds a clean energy economy,” said Long Island Association President & CEO Kevin Law.
“Long Island, and particularly the East End, faces unique energy and economic challenges,” added State Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor. “As one of the few parts of Long Island in which energy demands continue to grow, we face a steadily increasing need for new sources of power…. Not only will this help the South Fork meet its increasing energy demand, but will do so in an environmentally responsible manner, creating jobs for our state.”
“This is a big step for LIPA, a bold step for renewable energy on Long Island, and the beginning of an offshore wind industry in the State of New York and the country,” said Renewable Energy Long Island Executive Director Gordian Raacke. “We commend Governor Cuomo and LIPA for showing visionary leadership in the transition to renewable energy and thank all who have advocated for offshore wind energy over the last couple of decades.”