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Feb 12, 2019 10:30 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

South Fork Wind Farm CEOs Apologize To Fred Thiele

Feb 12, 2019 10:30 AM

Ørsted US Offshore Wind has offered an olive branch to State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who recently withdrew his support for the South Fork Wind Farm, citing “bait and switch” tactics by the energy development company.

Mr. Thiele blamed an expansion of the proposed wind farm’s ability to generate power, as well as a change in the developers’ ownership, for whittling away trust he had initially placed in Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind, which has been taken over by a Danish corporation called Ørsted, now known as Ørsted US Offshore Wind.

“What we were originally told about the project and its goals are no longer true,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement on January 24. “We are left to imagine what other changes might be made or what other projects might show up on our doorstep in the future.”

In a letter to Mr. Thiele dated Friday, February 8, Ørsted CEOs Thomas Brostrøm and Jeffrey Grybowski acknowledged that communication with the assemblyman’s office had “not been up to the standards we expect from our team” and apologized. They promised to keep Mr. Thiele up to date about plans for the South Fork Wind Farm as well as about other initiatives related to the project in the future.

The executives also noted that Ørsted would be submitting a proposal to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, for a larger wind farm this week, and that additional projects were also planned, noting that Mr. Thiele had “long championed” the benefits of offshore wind for Long Island.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Thiele observed that a number of companies are likely to bid on projects that would advance Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to create at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy, and that “we will be required to trust these companies with our ocean, our beaches, and our quality of life.” The assemblyman added that it is imperative that the winning bidders “possess the proven corporate ethics to insure that they will be open, honest, and transparent about all aspects of their proposal with the public.”

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