So far, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for the launch of offshore wind in the United States. Earlier this week, Congress extended important federal tax credits for the wind and offshore wind industries as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal. And today the federal government announced an important step forward for long-stalled plans to site a New York State offshore wind project. This is great news for the future of offshore wind and renewable energy in New York and in our nation.
The proposed New York offshore wind project, which would be located in federal waters eleven miles south of Long Beach, Long Island, would generate at least 350 megawatts (MW) of electricity from offshore wind resources for the Long Island and New York City region, with the ability to expand generation capacity to as much as 700 MW - enough electricity to power an estimated 245,000 homes. The proposed lease area is approximately 127 square miles. The project is sponsored by a public-private offshore wind collaborative partnership between New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison.
Through today's announcement, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which regulates offshore wind projects in federal waters, is checking to see if other developers may also be interested in leasing this site for an offshore wind project. If, as is expected, there are not, BOEM will lease the site to NYPA. At that point, NYPA and its partners would propose a specific project and an exact site and there would be a full environmental review process for the project.
In addition to inquiring about competitive interest, BOEM is also seeking public comment on the proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located. Public comments are due March 6, 2013. This is an important opportunity to tell the Obama Administration and New York State that there is strong support for sustainably sited offshore wind projects off New York State.