2004-02-27 / Columnists

On The Bayfront

ByElisa Hinken

It looks like windmills are coming to the south shore of Long Island. A public notice has been posted by the Secretary of State seeking comments on an application by "The Bald Eagle Power Corporation" of 20 West 46th Street #5, New York , NY 10036, seeking authorization to install offshore wind farms in the North Atlantic Ocean on the Outer Continental ShelfA0 for the purpose of providing the primary electric power to produce hydrogen at the "SEAHORSE" sites.

The Bald Eagle Power Corporation plans include two small demonstration offshore wind farms in the North Atlantic off Long Island for the purposes of research and development on hydrogen production from wind. The demonstration sites would be located off Jones Beach and Long Beach, in Federal waters, three to eight miles offshore.

Each demonstration wind farm would have two to ten 2MW turbines. Plans call for the conversion of wind energy into clean hydrogen via the use of electrolysis at the sites. The hydrogen, stored within special containers, will be transported to land via ships. In total, the proposal would involve
the installation of nine SEAHORSE 78 megawatt indfarm/research/renewable energy sites beyond the three
mile limit from Block Island Sound to the New Jersey Shore. In addition to the 2 demonstration sites, Phase I
of the project would also in volve
erecting one meteorological communication tower on each of the nine SEAHORSE Wind Farm Sites.

These will function as meteorological weather and sea data collectors. Phase II would use the date collected to build a meaningful hydrogen wind farm that, over time, would be expanded to ac commodate the expanding hydrogen economy. The project is located in Federal waters, from three to eight miles offshore, in the North Atlantic Ocean.

There is also another company proposing a wind farm off Jones Beach: Winergy LLC., a similar company to Cape Wind Associates who is proposing to build off Cape Cod and Nan tuc-ket Sound, Massachusetts. The hotly debated Cape Cod project is slowly winning over the hearts and minds of some of the most ardent protesters. One outspoken opponent, news personality Walter Cronkite has even softened his stance. It certainly warrants further investigation. Recently a group of Cape Cod residents visited Den mark to view turbine production facilities and working wind farms. Sur prisingly, the worst critics are backing down after taking a good look at this venture.

The proposed Winergy Jones Beach wind farm consists of 67 3.5MW wind turbines totaling approximately 241.2MW. This site is located in state waters, 1 mile off the coast of New York. The site covers 16 square miles with an average water depth of 8 fathoms.

This site has been selected because of it wind speeds, proximity to major transmission lines, water depth and the lack of marine mammal activity. This site has wind speeds of class High 4, which are economical for wind
de velopment.

Transmission lines of 115kV are available within close proximity onshore. The average water depth of 8 fathoms allows for standard offshore foundations making the site economical. Most importantly, there is no currently available documented record of marine mammal activity within the site boundaries.

Because this site meets all of these conditions, it is felt this site will prove economically viable and beneficial to the environment. Winergy is also proposing wind farms off of New Jersey, the Hamptons (I am sure there will
be a hot debate there too) and Fire Island.

I am totally fascinated with this
type of energy producing project. When my oldest daughter was attending SUNY Morrisville in Monroe County, New York, we passed by these windmill farms scattered among the hillsides of rural cattle dominant communities.

We were able to get close enough to one of these mills to hear a slight hum. There was also a low-key vibration on the ground. While we were not able to visit the information center at the time of our visit, I have remained fascinated by this venture. I am still questioning the effects of such low level constant reverberation on our animal population and environment. However, our dependence on fossil fuel most certainly has negatively impacted our environment and our health over the years too.

I doubt such a project could come
off the shores of Rockaway since New York Harbor is a heavily traveled waterway. However, Rockaway will certainly benefit from such a venture because this type of electric producing product can possibly end any further need for electric power stations to be built in Rockaway to supply the in creased needs of current housing de velopments under way.

The Bays water Peaking Facility now under construction will be fueled by #2 oil which will be barged in. This power facility plans to alternatively use natural gas for fuel, but this is a future project is to be accomplished long after this facility is fully operational. There are no present sources of natural gas at the site at this moment.

Besides, both types of fuel for this plant will be depleting our natural resources further while in creasing air emissions and warm water discharges into Jamaica Bay. This project will also tap into the Rock away wastewater treatment plant, already burdened with overflow discharges at various times throughout the year and a major recipient of environmental violations.

If windmill generating electric is enough to stave off the need for further development of power plants, we need to take a close look at the lousy alternatives too.

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