LIPA CEO: Deepwater Wind Project Off Montauk Expected To Be Awarded LIPA Contract

An Alstom Haliade turbine in Belgium similar to the turbines proposed by Deepwater Wind
An Alstom Haliade turbine in Belgium similar to the turbines proposed by Deepwater Wind

The Long Island Power Authority is expected at its board meeting next Wednesday, July 20, to vote to purchase 90 megawatts of power from the proposed Deepwater One offshore wind farm proposed by Deepwater Wind off the coast of Montauk.

“This is the first in New York, it’s the largest to date, but we’re looking at this and seeing a tremendous offshore wind resource that will be developed and it’s not the last,” LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “I think this is a very big step … for New York, but also for the United States.”

Deepwater Wind’s most recent proposal to LIPA 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.

Their proposal was drafted in response to a LIPA request for proposals to help meet peak demand on the South Fork, which struggles with aging electric infrastructure. Conventional power sources were also considered by LIPA in the RFP process.

Wind power off the South Fork does have an advantage in this type of situation — it is “peak coincident,” meaning that when power usage is at its peak, usually on hot summer afternoons when people are using air conditioning, which is when offshore breezes begin to pick up, as the land cools more quickly than the water.

While LIPA is expected to agree to purchase 90 megawatts of power, generated by 15 wind turbines, Deepwater Wind’s lease of the ocean site 30 miles off the coast of Montauk gives the company enough space to produce 1,000 megawatts of power.

The details of the power purchasing agreement have not yet been released, though Deepwater Wind executives have said in the past that they expect their offer to LIPA to be competitive with the cost of producing power by conventional, fossil fuel sources.

South Fork environmental advocates have been pressing LIPA to approve the Deepwater proposal, in part because East Hampton’s goal of producing all its energy from renewable sources by 2020 is dependent on offshore wind.

“New York is boldly leading the way on a clean-energy revolution that will transform the nation’s energy future,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“Our project is not just the best site for offshore wind in the country, it’s also the right solution to meet the South Fork’s energy demands in a clean and cost-effective way,” he added. “There’s real momentum for offshore wind in the United States, and Long Islanders are leading the charge.”

“The town has supported offshore wind, and Deepwater Wind’s project was an integral part of the Town Board’s plan when it unanimously adopted the Town’s 100% renewable energy goals in 2014,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. “The town’s policy is paving the way for renewables, wind, solar, and conservation to become a real alternative to massive transmission lines and greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels.”

“The town held a number of outreach events, with staff from Natural Resources and volunteers of the Energy & Sustainability Committee engaging the community and LIPA in order to achieve our 100 percent renewable energy goals, including but not limited to offshore wind,” said Environmental Analyst John Sousa-Botos of East Hampton’s Natural Resources Department. “Offshore wind is just one piece of the puzzle. The town will continue to work with the public to reduce peak power and improve overall residential energy efficiency.”

LIPA’s July 20 meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the utility’s Uniondale headquarters.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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