BY JON CRONIN
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed to building a wind energy farm 17 miles off the coast of the Rockaways and plans on holding the first of three community forums on the matter on Aug. 14.
The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) will host the event at Peninsula Public Library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to discuss the governor’s plan to generate 2.4 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030.
“This initiative will provide enough power for 1.25 million homes, while also providing thousands of new job opportunities, significant investments and a renewable source of energy for years to come,” NYSERDA said in a statement.
According to the 2017 State of the State book on the governor’s website, the state’s commitment to wind energy would be the largest in the nation’s history.
“Out of a total of 16,000 square miles in New York’s Offshore Wind Study Area, the combined project areas will likely occupy a total of approximately 250 square miles,” according to the governor’s office. “New York State’s commitment of up to 2.4 gigawatts is the largest in U.S. history, and will be achieved by supporting the construction of near-term projects as well as identifying additional federal wind lease areas for longer-term development.”
The project will be NYSERDA’s second of its kind under development. The authority is also designing another wind farm off the east coast of Montauk on Long Island. The Rockaway project is expected to produce 800 megawatts of wind power 17 miles south of the Rockaway Peninsula.
After the project was announced, energy company Statoil Wind US LLC won the auction to build the wind farm.
In 2017, NYSERDA will invest $360 million—the largest single investment at one time— into 11 projects around the state as part of the Clean Energy Standard program. The authority will also leverage $4 billion to build an additional 35 projects by 2020.
The open house will provide community residents and stakeholders the opportunity to hear about the project, ask questions of NYSERDA representatives and submit comments on the New York Offshore Wind Master Plan, which will be released at the end of the year.
“I look forward to working with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority to obtain the lease, in the hope that this offshore wind farm will help to eliminate more than 540,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year—the equivalent of removing 120,000 vehicles from local streets,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).
And Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) also praised the governor’s announcement.
“The number-one contributor to climate change is energy production, and I know I speak for everyone on the peninsula when I say that we know the physical impact of too many non-renewable energy sources,” she said. “If they do station offshore farms, I’m sure we’ll see some crop up on the horizon—so, for many reasons, local residents should go, get more information and be part of the conversation about where we go from here.”