Jul 20 2016

Big Winds Blowing in the Big Apple

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The winds of change are howling in New York. (Frabz.com)

After 130 years of worrying about making a good first impression, Lady Liberty might soon get some relief.

Before catching a glimpse of the iconic green lady, weary travelers sailing into New York could now be greeted first by iconic green energy: offshore wind turbines.

In the next 24 hours, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) is expected to approve the South Fork Wind Farm.1  The 90 MW, 15-turbine wind farm would sit in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Montauk, N.Y.2

DeepWater ONE South Fork

Deepwater ONE South Fork. (Adapter from dwwind.com ©)

When complete, South Fork could generate power for 50,000 homes in the Hamptons.2  Likely taking a cue from Cape Wind’s controversy, developers emphasize that turbines will be placed 30 miles offshore — over the horizon and out of sight from land.1

The project will be built by Deepwater Wind, which will open the nation’s first offshore wind farm off Block Island, R.I. this fall.3  That smaller, 30 MW project took seven years to develop4, but “probably shaved three years off of [South Fork’s] development time”, LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone told Politico.5 Because both projects are located in the same federally-approved waters, he expects South Fork construction to be expedited, with power reaching Long Island customers by 2022.2

Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island

Block Island, R.I. wind farm begins construction in July 2015. (Greg Vigliotti/New York Times ©)

And that’s just a start. South Fork is only the first phase of a planned Deepwater ONE Wind Energy Area, spanning 256 square miles between New York and Massachusetts, with a potential for more than 1,000 MW of power.

Two years ago, LIPA rejected a separate proposal for a 200 MW wind farm off Long Island due to an estimated $1 billion cost.  However, New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s new goal to power the state with 50 percent renewable energy apparently forced LIPA to reconsider.6

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“Respect my Long Island Power Authoritahhh.” – Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Adapted images: OffshoreWind.biz and Mike Groll/The Associated Press ©)

Back on the table is another site: a 127-square mile Wind Energy Area (WEA)2, sitting 11 miles south of Long Island’s popular Jones Beach, which could produce 350 MW.7  Federal officials plan to auction offshore wind rights to “The Wedge”2, but conflicts with scallop fisheries, shipping lanes, and even high-frequency NOAA radars pose hurdles.7

proposed lease for "The Wedge" offshore wind farms (BOEM)

Proposed lease for offshore wind farms on “The Wedge”, 11 miles off Long Island. (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

Undaunted, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski says “there’s real momentum for offshore wind in the United States”,8 and proponents say 2016 could be “the year” offshore wind finally takes off in the U.S.9  It’s far behind the 12 GW of offshore wind capacity already installed elsewhere in the world (90% in Europe)8 , but it’s a start.

Thomas Falcone, LIPA

LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone (Frank Eltman/The Associated Press ©)

Update: LIPA trustees’ scheduled vote to approve the South Fork wind farm this week was postponed.  Offshore wind enthusiasts, stay tuned.


1. Deepwater Wind. South Fork Wind Farm & Deepwater ONE Wind Energy Area. Deepwater Wind. 20 July 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://dwwind.com/>

2. The Associated Press. Long Island Power Authority Plans Largest U.S. Offshore Wind Farm. Wall Street Journal, 14 July 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/long-island-power-authority-plans-largest-u-s-offshore-wind-farm-1468509963>

3. Verma, Swati and McCool, Grant. Deepwater Wind proposes offshore wind power for New York’s Long Island. Reuters, 14 July 206. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-windfarm-deepwater-idUSKCN0ZU2OD>

4. Kuffner, Alex. Block Island Wind Farm: Building the turbines one blade at a time. The Providence Journal, 29 June 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20160629/block-island-wind-farm-building-turbines-one-blade-at-time>

5. Cardwell, Diane. Offshore Wind Farm Raises Hopes of U.S. Clean Energy Backers. The New York Times, 23 July 2015. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/business/offshore-wind-farm-raises-hopes-of-us-clean-energy-backers.html>

6. Giambusso, David. Cuomo’s announcement of offshore wind farm takes many by surprise. Politico.com, 14 July 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2016/07/offshore-wind-announcement-a-surprise-for-many-103844>

7. Frost, Mary. Offshore wind farms coming soon to the NY coast. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 17, March, 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2016/3/17/offshore-wind-farms-coming-soon-ny-coast>

8. Martin, Chris. Largest U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Planned in New York Waters. Bloomberg, 14 July 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-14/largest-u-s-offshore-wind-farm-to-be-built-off-long-island>

9. Briggs, Lexie. With G.E.’s Big Turbines on the Way to R.I., N.Y. Jumps into the Offshore Wind Game; Plus, Utilities Feel the Winds of Change, theenergycollective.com. 19 July 2016. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.theenergycollective.com/lexie-briggs/2383139/with-ges-big-turbines-on-the-way-to-r-i-n-y-jumps-into-the-offshore-wind-game-plus-utilities-feel-the-winds-of-change>

10. Harrington, Mark. Confusion after LIPA wind farm meeting postponed, Newsday. 23 July 2016. Web. 23 July 2016. <http://www.newsday.com/long-island/confusion-after-lipa-wind-farm-meeting-postponed-1.12082705>

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