Energy industry: Offshore wind farm approved for waters off Long Island

Energy industry: Offshore wind farm approved for waters off Long Island

The New York Times is reporting that the Long Island Power Authority has approved what may become the largest offshore wind farm to be built by Deepwater Wind in the waters between Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The wind farm will consist of fifteen 600 foot-tall turbines connected to the town of East Hampton by an undersea cable. The wind farm will provide electricity to 50,000 homes.

The wind farm may be the first of many, eventually numbering 200 wind turbines that will provide power to 1.25 million homes. New York State has set the goal of providing half of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Offshore wind is a part of that strategy.

While land-based wind power has flourished, especially in Texas, offshore wind has been stymied. A planned wind farm off Cape Cod has been mired in court battles for years from residents who worry that the wind turbines will ruin their pristine ocean view. Environmentalist opposition has also stymied plans for offshore wind power projects off the coast of Texas.

While the Long Island project does not have any organized opposition yet, some commercial fishermen are afraid that the massive wind turbines, which will be anchored to the ocean floor, will disrupt their operations. Some consumer groups and businesses are worried that offshore wind will boost electricity prices.

Supporters of the project not only tout offshore wind as a way to fight climate change, but also as a way to create jobs.

So far the only offshore wind farm off the east coast of the United States is a Deepwater Wind project off the shores of Rhode Island that recently went into operation.