NEW YORK, NY — The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has released a study evaluating the potential for using offshore wind generators to produce electricity for Long Island. The study shows that a maximum of about 5,200 MW of electricity could be produced by wind generators placed in a 314-square-mile band that stretches three to six nautical miles off Long Island’s south shore and east of Montauk Point.

Keeping it to a smaller, 135-square-mile band about three nautical miles from shore, with water depths of 50 feet or less, about 2,250 MW of wind-generated power could be produced to meet the area’s growing demand for electricity.

Before any offshore wind turbines are constructed, however, additional study would be needed to determine possible environmental impacts — such as the potential impact on water foul, migratory birds, and marine life — and the costs associated with building and connecting the wind generators to the electric grid.

LIPA chairman Richard M. Kessel said that a pre-proposal meeting would be held for interested wind generation developers on June 25 to gather additional information and begin the process of soliciting proposals for offshore wind generation projects before the end of the year. Kessel invited environmental groups to participate in the process.

Working with the local, state, and federal entities that have oversight on the development of such a project, it would take three to five years to plan, review, approve, and construct the offshore wind generators.

The study, called Long Island’s Offshore Wind Energy Development Potential: A Preliminary Assessment, was co-funded by LIPA and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

"The study shows that harnessing the wind to produce electricity for Long Island has tremendous potential," said Kessel. "It’s not without challenges, but the preliminary study demonstrates that it’s certainly worth moving forward with follow-up assessments to determine the best locations for siting offshore turbines, and to obtain more detailed information on the costs and environmental benefits of offshore wind generation."

"Under Governor Pataki’s leadership, New York State is now the home to two of the largest wind farms in the eastern United States," said NYSERDA president William M. Flynn. "Developing additional wind power resources in the state is a key component of the state’s overall energy strategy, as noted in the 2002 Draft Energy Plan, to reduce our dependence on energy that is produced by burning fossil fuels."

Since offshore wind development is new to the United States and has only taken place in northern Europe, the study focuses on broad issues relating to the state-of-the-art technology and its applicability to the Long Island environment.

The main objective of the study was to identify offshore areas that appear to have the best potential for wind energy development, and to also examine the implications of delivering offshore-generated electricity into LIPA’s on-island transmission system.

Publication date: 04/29/2002