Yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an important milestone: the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) voted to approve a contract for a 90-megawatt project off the eastern shore of Long Island, the biggest so far in the United States, powering 50,000 homes.
The company, Deepwater Wind, had previously developed the 30-megawatt Block Island Windfarm off the coast of Rhode Island.
The project is important for both the local region and the state as a whole: the energy will help meet peak demand in the Island’s growing South Fork region, putting the town of East Hampton on track to meet its goals of using 100% clean source energy by 2030. It is also the first step for the New York State to reach its own 2030 goal of adding 2.4-gigawatts in offshore wind energy to power 1.25 million homes.
Because the project will take place 30 miles off the coast of Montauk, which is beyond the horizon, it will be invisible from the shore and avoid any issues related to visual impact.
Beyond the environmental impact, there are substantial economic benefits as well. While the state has yet to release expected job creation numbers, according to a 2014 SUNY Stonybrook study a 250-megawatt project could create up to 2,800 jobs and generate $645 million in local economic output. The US Department of Energy reports that by 2050 this industry could support up to 160,000 jobs nationally.
From the Governor’s press release:
“New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long term energy goal of supplying half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers.”