Overshadowed by the NY Fracking Ban, LIPA Rejects Offshore Wind Farm

Long Island Power Authority voted yesterday to approve renewable energy projects that will provide less than half of the renewable energy resources pledged by the Governor in his LIPA reform legislation. The LIPA board vote included rejection of an offshore wind farm project that would have been the state’s first offshore wind project.

At a meeting at LIPA headquarters on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, LIPA trustees voted to authorize officials to pursue 11 solar arrays in Suffolk County to expand its renewable-energy sources by 2016, and voted to reject an offshore wind farm because of its cost. The solar arrays will be on large parcels in Calverton, Manorville, East Shoreham, Medford, Yaphank and Kings Park.

Although LIPA had previously expressed plans to add 280 megawatts of renewable energy, the approved solar arrays will add up to 122 megawatts of renewable energy for Long Island. Rather than approving projects that would provide the additional 160 megawatts of renewable energy, the board approved another request for proposals for the remaining 160 megawatts. According to Sierra Club, the RFP process likely won’t be complete for another 18 months.

You can read more about the proposed DeepWater Wind project in a post by Touro Law student Alyse Delle Fave and at DeepWater Wind LLC’s website. Alyse is a Student Fellow at Touro Law’s Land Use & Sustainable Development Law Institute, working on the Institute’s model wind energy ordinance project, a joint initiative of the Institute and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Wind energy is a critical component of New York’s plan to create a resilient power grid and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change locally and globally. Discussing the joint Touro Law-NYSERDA wind energy ordinance project, John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, observed that

Governor Cuomo has called for improving energy delivery in New York State by creating a more resilient and flexible power grid, giving ratepayers greater control over their energy use and making energy more affordable.

NYSERDA has helped fund more than 200 small- and medium-size wind turbines around New York, most in upstate, rural areas. An additional 37 turbines, funded by LIPA, have been installed on Long Island. Turbines have been installed at farms, houses, businesses, municipalities, schools and other sites.

joint statement of clean-energy advocacy groups Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environment New York, Environmental Advocates of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, New York League of Conservation Voters, North Fork Environmental Council, NYPIRG, Oceana, Renewable Energy Long Island, Sierra Club, and Working Families Party expressed disappointment in LIPA’s vote, predicting that New York “will continue to fall behind as other states embrace the economic and public health benefits of investing in offshore wind. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Long Island knows first-hand that we need a serious commitment—not a half effort—to combatting climate change.” The groups applaud the creation of more solar energy business opportunities for Long Island, but lament that “it’s not enough to meet even half of the promised goal, and at the same time, the Governor missed a critical­­­­ opportunity to build a thriving new offshore wind industry in New York.”

For related local news, read the Newsday article here and the 27East.com article here.

Posted by Professor Sarah J. Adams-Schoen, Director of Touro Law’s Land Use & Sustainable Development Law Institute. You can contact Professor Adams-Schoen by email or phone (sadams-schoen@tourolaw.edu, (631)761-7137). 

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