Community Engagement

LIPA board approves offshore wind power purchase agreement

The Board of Trustees of the Long Island Power Authority on Jan. 25 voted to approve the nation's largest offshore wind farm and the first offshore wind farm in New York.

A news release issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office notes that the approval of the South Fork Wind Farm, a 90-megawatt development 30 miles southeast of Montauk, is the first step toward developing an area that can host up to 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind power.

The wind farm, which is out of sight from Long Island's beaches, will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 Long Island homes with renewable energy, and will help meet increasing electricity demand on the South Fork of Long Island, the governor's office said.

The LIPA board approved a contract submitted by Deepwater Wind for the South Fork Wind Farm after a year-long process engaging the private sector for the best available clean energy generation ideas and detailed cost modeling.

Other elements of LIPA's South Fork energy portfolio include transmission enhancements and additional clean energy solutions such as battery storage and consumer electricity demand reduction, the news release said.

The LIPA board approved a 20-year pay-for-performance power purchase agreement, which will allow the utility to only pay for delivered energy without taking construction or operating risk.

Advancing technology and innovation reduced the all-in wind energy price to be competitive with other renewable energy sources, the governor's office noted.

"New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long term energy goal of supplying half of all energy from renewable sources by 2030," Cuomo said.

"This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers," he said in the news release.

Cuomo recently announced an unprecedented commitment to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 in his regional State of the State address on Long Island. The 2.4 GW target is the largest commitment to offshore wind energy in U.S. history, the governor's office said.

"We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of off-shore wind off Long Island's coast and meeting Governor Cuomo's clean energy standard," said Tom Falcone, LIPA's chief executive officer. "This project is the right size, at the right location and demonstrates how smart energy decisions can reduce cost while providing renewable energy and clean air for all of Long Island."

Cuomo in 2016 announced that the New York Public Service Commission had approved a clean energy standard that will require 50 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030.

Offshore Wind Master Plan

Along with the approval for the South Fork Wind Farm, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is continuing to develop an Offshore Wind Master Plan that will outline the state's commitment to developing cost-effective offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New York.

The master plan, to be released in late 2017, will show how additional New York coastal sites may be developed responsibly and will set capacity targets and commercial operation dates for each site, the news release said.

"The state will continue to work closely with coastal community members, the fishing and maritime industries, environmental advocates and other stakeholders to identify additional offshore wind energy sites to be included in New York's Offshore Wind Master Plan," Cuomo's office noted.

In an interview with the American Public Power Association in August 2016, Falcone discussed the Deepwater Wind project and other renewable energy topics.