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Jul 24, 2012 6:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Company Proposes Wind Turbine Farm Offshore From Montauk

Jul 26, 2012 3:46 PM

A Rhode Island company is trying to drum up support on Long Island for a multibillion-dollar wind energy project to install up to 200 wind turbines in deep waters offshore from Montauk.

Deepwater Wind wants to construct the Deepwater Wind Energy Center—a 900 megawatt generating wind turbine farm that would be located 30 miles east of Montauk and about 20 miles south of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island mainland, according to the company officials. The point of locating turbines offshore is to minimize the visual effects of the structures, company officials said last week, adding that the proposed turbines would be over the horizon and either mostly or completely out of sight of land.

The project would include a transmission cable that would connect Long Island to New England, allowing the company to sell power to Long Island, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut—and also to import power from New England to Long Island, supplementing the output of the turbines and providing a more predictable level of service. The company submitted a lease to use the federal waters to the U.S. Department of Interior in December 2010.

The Deep Water Wind Energy Center is expected to produce enough energy to power 350,000 homes and displace 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to the company’s website.

The total cost of the wind energy project is expected to come in at somewhere between $4 billion and $5 billion, said Tim Daniels, the company’s senior vice president of market development.

The company also plans to construct a smaller wind farm, consisting of five wind turbines generating 30 megawatts of power that would be approximately three miles southeast of Block Island in Rhode Island waters. The Block Island Wind Farm is expected to generate enough energy—100,000 megawatt hours annually—to supply the majority of Block Island’s electricity needs, according to the company’s website.

The project is expected to be built next year. Each blade on the turbines would be 250 feet long and weigh 29 tons. The turbines would be about 350 feet above sea level, according to Bill Moore, Deepwater Wind’s chief executive officer and managing director.

The point of locating turbines offshore is to minimize the visual effects of the structures, company officials said last week.

The company’s project is a response to a request for proposals issued in August 2010 by the Long Island Power Authority to provide additional electric capacity, energy and ancillary services to the region.

“This is not what LIPA was anticipating when they put out their RFP,” said Mr. Daniels, noting the company surprised LIPA officials with its renewable energy project. LIPA, he said, had been anticipating more projects for more conventionally fueled power plants.

Proposals were due to LIPA by March 31, according to the agency’s website. Winning projects will be announced this fall, it states.

Deepwater Wind’s proposal has already raised eyebrows among some environmental groups on Long Island. Part of the plan would be to install an undersea transmission cable, which concerns Jeremy Samuelson, the executive director of Concerned Citizens of Montauk, an environmental nonprofit group.

“I think we have to look at two categories of impacts—one are construction associated impacts. What happens to the sea floor and the benthic communities,” he said. “Longer term, we have a lot of questions about what the impacts will be to environmental ecology of the area, but also commercial fishing interests.”

Impacts on fish and fishermen are of great concern to Bonnie Brady, the executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association.

“They’re going to blast the ocean floor,” she said. “They don’t have any science to show whether or not these things are going to impact upon migratory patterns of fish.”

Mr. Moore said the project would have to clear some environmental hurdles, but he said in the long run, it would have “huge environmental benefits.”

“I think the most significant benefit, of course, is displacing the local air pollution that is associated with conventional generation, which is becoming a huge problem on Long Island,” he said.

Mr. Moore said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that LIPA will award his company the bid.

“We’d like to believe at this price and at this scale, with the largest wind power project proposed in New York State since the ’50s, we’ve put something in front of them that they haven’t seen before,” Mr. Moore said.

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certaily sounds interesting and worth exploring further
By tm (174), mtk on Jul 26, 12 9:00 AM
How does this project differ from the one recently approved off Cape Cod.? That generated a lot of controversy over visual impacts, and resulted in years of litigation.
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Jul 28, 12 7:36 AM
One way it differs is that this proposal is "30 miles east of Montauk and about 20 miles south of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island mainland" while the Cape Wind project is about 5.2 miles from the nearest shore and about 13.8 miles from Nantucket Island.
By dklughers (46), east Hampton on Jul 29, 12 2:21 AM
So - good thing or ... not?
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 30, 12 9:59 PM
Non-renewable natural resources such as petroleum products and natural gas are limited. Someday in the near future, (or perhaps in the recent past) production levels will decline and prices will undoubtedly rise. We can hydrofrack for natural gas and extract tar sands and oil shale from the Earth all day long. However, exploiting these resources is economically and environmentally costly. In addition, you will have the “side effects” of combusting hydrocarbons to contend with- well ...more
By dklughers (46), east Hampton on Jul 31, 12 11:22 PM
Agree with tm above -- interesting, let's look at it.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 29, 12 9:11 PM
if the huge demand for all this energy comes from exciting new condo projects, more mini malls, huge houses that need more air conditioning for the hot days,big pools that need more heat for the hot days/er i mean cold days, massive art galleries that require extensive lighting, and wider roads --- i say CONSERVE POWER INSTEAD !!!!
By david h (405), southampton on Jul 29, 12 10:07 PM
Conservation is a good approach- but hasn’t worked. In the end-we will still run out of petro- resources … all the while increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and exacerbating ocean acidification. The oceans are 30% more acidic than they were 250 years ago. This is not good for marine life- or humans who rely on the seas. Stuff like food, water, tourism, commerce, transportation, recreation, minerals, climate control for the Earth, biomedical organisms, jobs, and even ...more
By dklughers (46), east Hampton on Jul 31, 12 11:30 PM
a wind farm is going to be a real sweeeeet surprise for marine life. .. while they are blasting & building might as well just build a sea of oil drills and attach the wind vanes ontop of them .. and attach lobster pots to the structures, weather buoys, video cameras .HA! LETS JUST GIVE IN TO DEVELOPMENT.. PUT EM ON THAT BIG STRETCH OF VACANT LAND btw Manorville & westhampton WHATEVER THAT WASTED SPACE IS !!!! (joke)
..
hey thers plenty of people who need to keep their a/c on all summer long ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Aug 1, 12 8:31 AM
David, take a deep breath.

While I agree that people should stop being wasteful with their energy, I'm not sure discouraging green energy is a solution. In theory, if we were to build up enough solar/wind infrastructure, we would be able to power down the coal fired and natural gas plants. We will never get anywhere near that point if we don't adopt alternative energy.

As for marine life, I think they'll be quite happy with the new structures. Areas with oil rigs in the Gulf ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 1, 12 9:16 AM
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