2009-03-27 / Top Stories

Wind Power Farm Slated For Ocean Off Rockaway

By Howard Schwach

If Governor David Paterson and LIPA have their way, there may be a wind farm, such as this one, off the coast of Rockaway in the next several years. If Governor David Paterson and LIPA have their way, there may be a wind farm, such as this one, off the coast of Rockaway in the next several years. A feasibility study released by LIPA this week concluded that an interconnection of up to 700 MW of wind power, located at least 13 miles off the Rockaway peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean, would be feasible with upgrades to its transmission system. A spokesperson for the utility says that the company is moving forward with plans for a new phase of a study on the proposed offshore wind farm.

LIPA officials said that the wind farm would be designed to generate 350 megawatts of electricity, but could be easily be upgraded to double that generating power, making it the largest offshore wind proposal in America.

"As a state and as a nation, we must find alternative solutions to traditional fossil fuel sources. By taking advan- tage of the natural resources that New York has to offer, we will position ourselves to be the national leader in renewable and alternative energy as our economy emerges from the current crisis," said New York Governor David A. Paterson. "LIPA and Con Edison have partnered to take a lead role in wind power, successfully completing the first phase of this joint partnership with their study of the technical aspects of connecting off-shore wind energy to the state's electricity system."

The LIPA proposal comes just weeks after a Manhattan company proposed a giant Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on a man-made island about the same distance from the Rockaway shoreline, but some miles to the east.

"I am strongly encouraged by the preliminary analysis which demonstrates a large offshore wind project can work in our service territory," said LIPA President and CEO Kevin S. Law. "As a member of Governor Paterson's Renewable Energy Task Force, I remain committed to not only continue with the next phase of the process, but also to bring this wind project to fruition if we can make it cost effective for our customers."

The formation of the Con Edison and LIPA interdisciplinary working group was announced by the Governor last fall with a goal of studying, among other things, suitable locations for an offshore wind project, transmission and interconnection capabilities, and the availability of wind as an energy source. The information gathered was used to provide a better understanding of the opportunities for such a project and, if feasible, the development of jointly issued requests for proposal whereby both utilities could share the cost of the project, as well as the power it generates.

As the second phase begins for the wind project, LIPA and Con Edison will work with the state, the New York Power Authority, New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority to issue a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for offshore wind development. The RFEI serves as a precursor to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be

issued later this year. It is anticipated that other interested state and city of Work? agencies will be invited to participate in the project's next phase and/or the RFP process.

Additional next steps include:

* creation of a joint LIPA/Con Edison website to keep the wind industry, communities and stakeholders informed of the project's progress; and

* working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop a Meteorological Tower to assess wind strength in the proposed project location.

In addition, both utilities will begin another round of due diligence that will concentrate on the economics and feasibility of the actual offshore wind farm, including: determining if there are sufficient wind resources to meet the scope of the project; an avian (bird impacts) study; further environmental impacts; economic

costs; community impact; and the potential number of jobs the project could create.

The concept for the offshore wind project emanates from Governor Paterson's Renewable Energy Task Force and is consistent with the governor's "45 by 15" program, which establishes the goal for the state to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by the year 2015.

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This sounds fantastic! Now if the HHC building, west of 149th st, on the beach side could be brought to life as part of this project...

If con-ed/lipa's project could spin off the financing to convert the hospital building and its power plant, (HHC would be pleased to part with it and the neighboring residents would only be grateful if the site became alive) into a museum of energy which could be entirely fueled by it's own wind and solar energy; it would be an active, forward looking, publicly available use for the property that could serve as a model of a highly energetic museum that instructs people on energy and our untapped resources whilst generating excess electricity to generate passive income. The building location is perfect for this kind of use and helps "marry" the museum of energy to the wind farm on the horizon.

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