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New York Unveils Offshore Wind Master Plan

Remember “The Simpsons” episode where Homer scoffs at the idea that one animal could provide all his favorite meat: bacon, ham, pork chops? “Yeah right, Lisa,” he chortles, “a wonderful, magical animal.” Well, the pig is to Homer what offshore wind turbines are to New York State.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just launched the 60-page New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan, detailing the state’s commitment to wind power and the expected gains from seeing it through:

• 2,400 MW offshore energy will power in excess of 1.2 million homes
• It will employ up to 5,000 people
• The state’s port infrastructure will be enhanced
• $15 million will be committed to training the required workforce
• The industry will be worth $6 billion in a decade
• Support the city’s goal of sourcing half of its power from renewables by 2030 (equivalent to taking 1 million cars off the road)
• Health benefits from cleaner air worth $400 million

The report is the product of two years of extensive research and is supplemented by 20 studies. The authors assessed every aspect of the plan, from cable installation, pipelines, manufacturing turbines and developing the wind farms, to wider environmental issues like the impact on birds, bats and sea life.

The result: a proposal for a 1 million acre site, 21 miles from land, due south of the Great South Bay. “For the vast majority of the time, turbines would have no discernible or visible impact for a casual viewer on the shore,” the report states. By locating so far out, the projects could avoid or minimize potential conflicts for shipping lanes, the fishing industry and wildlife. Related: Most Big Banks Are Now Bullish On Oil

The plan acknowledges that a considerable amount of work must happen, and sets up a number of working groups to “define strategies and activities that could help members engage effectively in offshore wind energy development.” One proposal involves a workshop with leading marine scientists who will convene to assess marine ecosystem protections, develop best working practices and consider the creation of a fund to enable the projects to go ahead while providing adequate support for the environment.

2018 holds great promise to be the year that offshore wind comes into its own in the U.S. Around 13 leases have been secured already for wind development on the East Coast. The Cuomo site is just south of Empire Wind, the 79,000-acre wind farm planned by Statoil (NYSE:STO) that’s expected to go online in 2024. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has declared his state’s intention to achieve 3,500 MW of offshore power by 2030. Related: Airlines Warn Higher Oil Prices Will Raise Airfares

But 2018 also came with promises for the traditional energy providers. President Trump can’t resist the lure of oil and gas drilling, and he kicked off the year with his declaration that nearly the entire U.S. coast would be opened up for fossil fuel drilling. The move would see more than 90% of the outer continental shelf available in nearly 50 lease sales — the first time drilling could take place off the Atlantic seaboard. Announcing the public consultation into the plan, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, “We want to grow our nation’s offshore energy industry, instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores. This is a clear difference between energy weakness and energy dominance. Under President Trump, we’re going to have the strongest energy policies and be the strongest energy superpower.”

Not everyone has welcomed this. New York and New Jersey both asked the Department of the Interior for exemptions from the drilling plan. Cuomo addressed this in a recent statement.

“While the federal government continues to turn its back on protecting natural resources and plots to open up our coastline to drilling, New York is doubling down on our commitment to renewable energy and the industries of tomorrow,” said Cuomo.

By Precise Consultants

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Leave a comment
  • Bill Simpson on February 12 2018 said:
    Maybe they could put the wind turbines on top of the oil derricks. Kill two birds with one stone. Metaphorical birds, not real birds.

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