New York offshore wind hits a roadblock

(Bloomberg) — A coalition of environmental groups is urging New York officials to move forward with delayed plans to approve a 90-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Long Island.

The Sierra Club joined more than 30 other organizations in a letter Friday asking New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to push the Long Island Power Authority to reschedule a vote on the project.

The authority’s board of trustees had been scheduled July 20 to approve Deepwater Wind LLC’s proposal to install 15 turbines about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Montauk. The vote was canceled at the request of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which asked LIPA to wait several weeks until the state releases a comprehensive plan for offshore wind. The delay spurred concern from environmentalists who fear it may derail what would be the second wind farm built in U.S. waters.

“The governor has already identified offshore wind as being a key piece of getting to his 50 percent renewable energy goal by 2030,” David Alicea of the Sierra Club said in an interview Monday. “The project is almost ready to go, and this is best chance to move it forward.”

Complementary Projects

A spokeswoman for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority declined to comment on the request to reschedule the vote. She issued a statement saying Deepwater’s project would complement the state’s plan to encourage development of another wind farm at a second site off Long Island, about 11 miles south of the city of Long Beach.

“Together, these efforts are part of New York’s intent to foster greater renewable energy production, including offshore wind, on Long Island and throughout the state,” according to the statement.

While offshore wind has thrived in Europe, most U.S. projects have floundered as utilities balk at paying a premium for the power. Last year, Deepwater began construction of the first U.S. project, a 30-megawatt wind farm in Rhode Island.

Deepwater chief executive Jeff Grybowski said in an e-mailed statement he remained confident that the project off Montauk would move forward.

“We respect LIPA’s decision to postpone its hearing, and we look forward to working closely with LIPA, NYSERDA and Governor Cuomo’s administration to advance our South Fork Wind Farm project,” he said.


Bloomberg News by Joe Ryan

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