One day after announcing that the Indian Point nuclear power plant will close by 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York’s commitment to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030–enough to power 1.25 million homes, which will help New York meet its Clean Energy Standard goal of obtaining 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The commitment is also important when considering that Indian Point supplies 25 percent of New York City’s electricity load, and 10 percent of the state’s load.
The state’s offshore wind development is already underway, through a proposed 90-megawatt project off the coast of Long Island developed by Deepwater Wind (“Deepwater”). Located 30 miles southeast of Montauk, this will be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. Deepwater is responsible for the country’s first wind farm (Block Island, in Rhode Island) and already owns the lease area in New York, but the project is yet to be approved by the Long Island Power Authority (“LIPA”).
In addition, in December, Statoil Wind US LLC won a federal auction to lease an area off of the Rockaway Peninsula for a development that would accommodate 800 megawatts of offshore wind.
Finally, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) is preparing the Offshore Wind Master Plan (“the Plan”), a comprehensive guide for offshore wind activities in the state, expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The Plan will include: site identification, assessment, and characterization; cost–benefit analysis; grid and interconnection studies; mechanisms for the purchase and sale of the energy to be produced; stakeholders and community engagement; and mitigation efforts.
With numerous and evident benefits, offshore wind can be crucial within a diverse portfolio of renewable sources. As Cuomo noted, “New York’s unparalleled commitment to offshore wind power will create new, high-paying jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, establish a new, reliable source of energy for millions of New Yorkers, and solidify New York’s status as a national clean energy leader.”