LIPA Picks 11 Solar Projects, Rejects Offshore Wind Proposal

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 Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to buy power from 11 new solar projects — totalling 122 megawatts — and rejected the 210 megawatt Deepwater ONE offshore wind project 30 miles off the coast of Montauk.

Four of the 11 solar arrays will be in Calverton, three on privately owned land and one, a 7.5 megawatt plant proposed by Hecate Energy, at the EPCAL site owned by Riverhead Town.

Other winning projects were in Eastport, East Shoreham, Medford, Yaphank and Kings Park.

LIPA had initially requested proposals for 280 megawatts of alterative energy in 2013, and plans to work with PSEG-Long Island to issue bids for the remaining 160 megawatts of alternative energy next year, said LIPA CEO John McMahon at Wednesday’s meeting.

Renewable energy advocates pulled 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.

According to LIPA’s memo accompanying their selections of the 11 bids from 38 bids submitted, “the wind projects were not selected primarily because of their total cost relative to other alternatives, including financial risks inherent in those proposals. Similarly, none of the fuel cell proposals, which would all be fueled by natural gas, were selected due to price risks inherent in those proposals.”

Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement Thursday that LIPA’s decision “missed an opportunity to build a 21st Century energy supply for Long Island and a new local industry employing hundreds for years to come.”

“Not only that, but we believe LIPA/PSEG¹s analysis was serious flawed,” he added. “Just this week in fact, New York’s flagship state university at Stony Brook issued a report finding that a new offshore wind farm would have no impact on ratepayer bills. Long Islanders suffer from some of the highest energy costs in the Northeast and the region trails the rest of New York State in renewables. Today¹s decision by LIPA/PSEG does little to prepare Long Island for the future energy needs, save ratepayers money, or put Long Island laborers back to work.”

The developers of the 11 proposals plan to have their projects ready to generate electricity in 2016. Hecate Energy’s project at EPCAL, Riverhead Solar, will be located between the south end of the southwest runway at the Calverton Airport and Grumman Boulevard. It will use approximately 25,000 single-axis panels and is expected to come online in October of 2016.

Community Energy Solar plans to build a 10 megawatt solar installation at 4300 to 4400 Middle Country Road in Calverton and a 16 megawatt installation along the northeast side of Captain Daniel Roe Highway between Moriches Riverhead Road and Sunrise Highway in Eastport.

Sybac Solar, LLC plans to build a new 9.9 megawatt facility consisting of 44,500 fixed tilt panels between 450 and 500 Edwards Avenue (on the west side) by July 25, 2016.

sPower, a privately held firm owned by Fir Tree Partners, Sustainable Power Group, Silverado
Power and Martifer Solar, plans to build a new 20-megawatt facility on two plots, one on the west side of Edwards Avenue between the addresses of 100 and 200 Edwards Avenue and one on the east side between 400 and 500 Edwards Avenue. They plan to install 93,000 fixed tilt panels by the end of 2016.

As part of their memo, LIPA staff recommended the board “authorize commencement of a
supplemental solicitation to secure an additional 160 megawatts of renewable energy in order to
achieve the target of up to 280 megawatts of renewable energy.”

“The 280 megawatt target was adopted in 2012 as part of an overall target totaling 400 megawatts of renewable energy for Long Island,” they added. “This program was in furtherance of the authority board’s sense that Long Island should, along with the state’s other utilities, support the state’s goal of obtaining 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015.”

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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