Long Island Hopes To Build Offshore Wind Park
Forty giant wind turbines could soon be standing in the water, spinning electricty from Atlantic winds that blow across the South Shore of Long Island.
The Long Island Power Authority and FPL Energy jointly filed an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tuesday seeking authorization to install an offshore wind energy park off the South Shore of Long Island.
The proposed offshore wind project would erect 40 wind turbines, each producing 3.6 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The entire wind park would be capable of producing 140 MWs of electricity, enough to serve about 44,000 typical Long Island homes. The turbines would be clustered in an eight square mile area 4.1 miles due south of Cedar Beach. A 10 mile long transmission cable would bring the electricity from the turbines to an existing Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) substation in West Amityville.
Pending the outcome of the regulatory review process, the LIPA/FPL Energy offshore wind project could be operating by 2008, officials said.
Filing the application with the USACE initiates an extensive federal and state regulatory and environmental review process that will include public review and comment.
“Today we draw a symbolic line in the sand and say we’re tired of being held hostage to OPEC and other foreign oil producers, and we’re going to do something positive to develop an alternative energy resource that will heal, not hurt the environment,” said LIPA Chairman Richard Kessel. “Over a 20 year period, the offshore wind park could prevent the burning of over 13.5 million barrels of fuel oil, which will eliminate millions of tons of combustion emissions from going into our region’s environment. At a cost of $40 per barrel, that avoids some $540 million in fuel oil costs over 20 years.”
“FPL Energy and LIPA are advancing an ambitious project that will bring the significant benefits of clean, renewable wind energy to Long Island,” said Charles Muoio, vice president of FPL Energy. “We look forward to working with LIPA and the people of Long Island to make this project a reality.”
According to information contained in the permit application, the wind park is expected to result in an annual emission savings of 235,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 489 tons of sulfur dioxide (Sox), and 211 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
To minimize the potential impacts of bringing the wind generated power to the Island via a 138kV marine cable, directional drilling will be used to go under the barrier island that separates the ocean from the Great South Bay. Then the cable will use the path of an existing navigation channel to reach landfall in East Massapequa, and every attempt will be made to install the cable in conjunction with future maintenance dredging that is planned for the channel.
Applauding the announcement were some of the members of the Long Island Offshore Wind Initiative, a coalition of about 30 environmental, consumer and religious organizations.
Philippe Cousteau, president of EarthEcho International, a Washington, DC marine science and environmental preservation group, also offered support for the offshore wind park.
“As we move into the 21st Century our continued dependence on carbon based energy is totally unacceptable,” said Cousteau, grandson of the late oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. “We owe it to ourselves and especially our children to vigorously develop renewable energy sources such as offshore wind in the interest of national security, continued economic viability, public health and the environment.”
Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, called the wind project “a smart investment in harvesting a local energy supply that will never be subject to fossil fuel costs, the whims of OPEC, or unstable geo-political forces.”
Other local and national environmental groups voiced their support such as Long Island Neighborhood Network, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace.
Kessel and environmental leaders Wednesday launched an “Energy Independence” campaign aimed at persuading Long Island’s major political, business and civic leaders to join in support of the wind park.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.