New York wants offshore wind farm

Its trustees have authorized application for a lease from the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation & Enforcement (formerly called the Minerals Management Service) for lands off the east coast of Long Island for development of an offshore wind energy facility.

It will work with Consolidated Edison, the Long Island Power Authority and the City of New York, with plans for a wind farm of 350 to 700 MW of capacity, to be operational by 2016. The area under consideration is 24 km off Long Island and is 64,500 acres in size.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy (BOE) has jurisdiction over the Atlantic Ocean’s Outer Continental Shelf  and is responsible for granting leases for renewable energy development, including sites for offshore wind facilities. Offshore property within the first 3 miles of the coast falls under the jurisdiction of New York State and Federal jurisdiction extends from 3 miles to 200 miles offshore.

“By taking this step, New York moves closer to the clean energy economy which combines the benefits of emission-free generation for a better environment with the economic development opportunities of the jobs and industries that will aim to make New York a leader in the growth of offshore wind,” says Richard Kessel of NYPA.

“To achieve our goals of improving air quality, increasing the reliability of our energy network, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30% by the year 2030, we must develop renewable sources of electricity,” adds Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City.

Federal agency to receive portion of revenue from wind turbines

The lease will cost US$16,000 for the application fee, based on a price of US$0.25 per acre, and is required upon submission of the lease application. Annual rental during the period of project development and construction will be negotiated with BOE but is expected to be US$3 per acre, for an annual rent of US$200,000.

Once the wind farm becomes operational, BOE would receive a portion of the revenue generated from the sale of energy as payment for the lease.

“An offshore wind project will provide a clean and viable energy alternative for our region,” says Kevin Burke of Con Edison. “This collaborative effort involves many social and economic challenges and, if they are successfully addressed, will provide benefits for our residents and businesses.”

“The action by the NYPA Board of Trustees is the next big milestone in exploring the feasibility of developing an offshore wind farm and positioning New York as leaders in the renewable energy world,” adds Kevin Law of LIPA. “Our project has the potential to diversify our energy portfolio, strengthen the economy with the creation of new quality jobs, and help to meet the State’s ‘45 by 15’ clean energy initiative.”

The LI-NYC Wind Collaborative is undertaking technical and environmental studies to determine the feasibility of developing the wind farm. If the project proceeds, NYPA will assign its lease rights to a project developer that would be selected through a competitive process. At that time, the developer would assume all financial obligations associated with the lease for the duration of its term.

The New York Power Authority is the largest state-owned electric utility in the USA, with 17 generating facilities in the state, of which 75% of its electricity is from hydropower facilities.