2010-05-07 / Top Stories

OK For Cape Cod Project Brings Rockaway Wind Farm Closer

By Howard Schwach

The decision by the Obama administration to go ahead with a massive wind farm project off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts has renewed the interest in a similar wind farm off the coast of Rockaway.

The Massachusetts wind farm may well develop into the first ever in the United States, but energy officials say that it will be far from the last.

At least a half-dozen projects that could provide electricity for hundreds of thousands of customers have been proposed in the shallow waters off the east coast and the Great Lakes.

A project that would place a bank of turbines 13 miles off the tip of Breezy Point is one of the more advanced projects, backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, LIPA, the New York Power Authority and the MTA.

An application to interconnect the offshore wind project with existing power grids in the local area has already been filed with the proper authorities and it is widely believed that it will be approved shortly.

In April of last year, Long Island Power Authority President and CEO Kevin S. Law and Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) Chairman and CEO Kevin Burke announced the creation of a “Wind Collaborative” to advance the LIPA-Con Edison Offshore Wind Farm project.

The Collaborative is comprised of state and municipal entities interested in supporting or purchasing power from the proposed offshore wind project the two utilities are exploring.

The proposed site, off the Rockaway shoreline, would likely be designed for 350 MW of generation, with the ability to expand it to 700 MW, giving it the potential to be the largest offshore wind proposal in the country.

The Collaborative is part of the second phase of a joint feasibility study by the two utilities.

The first phase concluded that an interconnection of up to 700 MW of wind power, located at the desired site in the Atlantic Ocean, would be feasible with upgrades to their respective transmission systems.

“I look forward to working with Con Edison, New York City and other state agencies and federal agencies as we move ahead with our study for this major wind project,” said Law. “The time is now to combine conservation with clean power and establish our state and nation as alternative energy leaders on a global level.

If determined that this project makes economic sense for our customers, we have the opportunity to create not only green power but green jobs as well.”

“Our joint collaboration with LIPA, along with the community leaders and public officials across the state, could become an exciting and environmentally responsible project for all New Yorkers,” said Burke.

The second phase of the wind study will also include the creation of a joint LIPA/Con Edison website to keep the wind industry, communities and stakeholders informed of the project’s progress and a continuing study of the economics and feasibility of the project, 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.

Officials say that while there is not yet a timeline for the wind farm project, the Cape Cod approval has pushed the project back to the front burner.

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