2010-06-11 / Top Stories

Rockaway Wind Farm Comes One Step Closer

By Howard Schwach

A plan that would bring a massive wind farm to the ocean off Rockaway’s shoreline took one step closer to fruition on Tuesday, when Governor David Paterson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will push the project forward.

Paterson announced that steps are being taken to advance the development of offshore wind power, which will create clean energy jobs and help the State meet its energy needs in an environmentally responsible way.

The Governor signed an MOU with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and nine other east coast governors to create an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. The Consortium will facilitate the partnership between the Atlantic states and DOI in the development of appropriate offshore wind energy, for which DOI is responsible for issuing leases.

The public-private partnership project would be sited approximately 13 miles off the Rockaway peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean, the governor said, and would be designed for 350 megawatts (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. A transmission interconnection study by LIPA and Con Ed concluded that an interconnection for up to 700 MW of wind power would be feasible, and an application to interconnect the offshore wind project has been filed with the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).

“Positioning New York as a leader in the clean energy economy is one of my top priorities,” Governor Paterson said. “This will help to create jobs, provide for our energy needs, improve our economy, and make our environment cleaner for all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with the Department of the Interior and the Atlantic coast governors to coordinate our efforts and ensure the development of our offshore wind energy resources in a responsible manner.” This agreement comes shortly after a separate MOU was signed by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), agreeing to engage in predevelopment activities and studies as this collaboration looks toward the proposed development of the Long Island-New York City (LI-NYC) Offshore Wind Project. This intrastate MOU marks the first regional partnership between these public and private utility service providers.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “Today’s agreement is the first step in expediting the permitting process for offshore wind projects along the Atlantic seaboard, including the Long Island-New York City offshore wind farm, which has the potential to provide clean energy to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in New York City. This will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, promote economic development, and help us achieve our PlaNYC goals of improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

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