The Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees could vote tomorrow on whether to purchase power from an array of solar and offshore wind proposals on Long Island.
Renewable energy advocates are pulling out the stops this week asking supporters of offshore wind to call Governor Andrew Cuomo to express their support for the Deepwater ONE offshore wind project, which could produce more than 200 megawatts of power for Long Island from 35 turbines in the ocean 30 miles offshore from Montauk.
Renewable energy advocates and labor groups showed up en masse at the LIPA board’s October meeting in support of the project.
Deepwater Wind is hoping to tie that energy into the grid to power the East End, which suffers from inadequate infrastructure for peak loads that often occur at the same time wind energy production peaks — late on summer afternoons.
LIPA still owns Long Island’s transmission network, which is being managed by PSEG Long Island, an offshoot of New Jersey-based PSE&G, as of 2014. LIPA issues a request for proposals for 280 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources in 2013 and is expected to pick the winners tomorrow.
If the Deepwater ONE project is selected, it could come at the expense of several smaller solar projects under consideration by LIPA, since Deepwater ONE would use 210 of the 280 megawatts alloted to renewable energy.
If solar plans under consideration at EPCAL in Riverhead Town do not receive the nod from LIPA, it could put a wrench in the works of the town’s 2015 budget, which counts on $700,000 in revenue from leasing or sale of land at EPCAL, primarily for solar power.
If it is built, the Deepwater ONE project would be on a site described by Deepwater Wind as the best site for offshore wind in the United States, taking advantage of the strong, steady winds of the Atlantic Ocean. It would also be farther from shore than any other project currently proposed.
A recent study by researchers at Stony Brook University found that a wind park would have “essentially no impact” on electric bills on Long Island, while Deepwater Wind announced in November that, if their project is selected, Deepwater ONE would provide 300 jobs during construction and a “significant number” of jobs during the pre-construction phase, with hiring beginning in 2015.
The company plans to partner with the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council and the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, to develop a local offshore wind industry.
Deepwater Wind CEP Jeffrey Grybowski said in an interview with The Beacon earlier this year that his company is hoping to break ground on the Deepwater One project as soon as 2017, and could begin commercial operation by 2018.
Renewable Energy Long Island Executive Director Gordian Raacke urged renewable energy advocates to contact the governor’s office in support of the project in an email campaign earlier this week.
“It’s clear that offshore wind is the responsible choice for Long Island, but Governor Cuomo needs to hear it from you,” he said. “Wednesday, Dec. 17 is the big day.”