Strong Island

Long Island wind power project full-go

While the Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island planted its flag as the first offshore wind project in North America, it’s always had a major competitor.

Just a hundred-odd miles south, people have been formulating ideas for offshore wind energy along Long Island’s coastline for decades. The island’s topography has long made it an ideal spot to harness coastal winds. Deepwater Wind, based in the Ocean State and the same company in charge of Block Island, will back America’s next—and largest—offshore wind farm.

The Long Island Power Authority has reached an agreement with Deepwater to construct 15 turbines capable of running 50,000 average homes, into the ocean about 35 miles from Montauk. The motion was approved by the utility board on Wednesday by LIPA’s Board of Trustees. It will be called the South Fork Wind Farm. On an aesthetic note (which has been more integral to the debate than one might think), officials have assured that the turbines will not be visible from land.

A $1 billion installation could become the first of several in a 256-square-mile parcel, with room for as many as 200 turbines, that Deepwater is leasing from the federal government.

The move marks a major stepping stone in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of powering 1.25 million New York homes with renewable energy within 13 years, and is the largest offshore wind-harvesting operation ever approved for United States waters, but has competitors hot on its tail.

Deepwater Wind is also currently lobbying for clearance on a 120-megawatt farm off the Maryland coast.

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