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Source: Utility DIVE

Environmental groups urge New York vote on proposed Deepwater Wind offshore wind project

BY ROBERT WALTON

Posted: July 29, 2016
Originally Published: July 27, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • Five environmental groups led by Sierra Club have called for New York to reschedule a vote on the proposed Deepwater Wind offshore wind project, arguing Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has previously indicated he would approve the project and should follow through with that support, Bloomberg reports.
  • Construction on the U.S.'s largest offshore wind farm, planned 30 miles from Long Island, could start as by 2019 with the project in operation by 2022. The 90 MW facility would be located 30 miles offshore.
  • According to Bloomberg, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) had been set to vote on the project last week, but the vote was delayed at the request of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Dive Insight:

Offshore wind power historically has had difficulties getting started in the United States. The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts’ Nantucket Sound has battled local opposition for over a decade, and only one offshore wind project under construction in the U.S., Deepwater’s 30-MW Block Island project in Rhode Island, is due online later this year.

Bloomberg reports NYSERDA requested a delay in the vote until the state could release a comprehensive plan for offshore wind development. That could come within the next few weeks. But environmental groups say Gov. Cuomo, given his expressed support for the project, should go ahead and reschedule a vote.

The groups wrote they want Cuomo to "follow through on this commitment to support offshore wind and work with LIPA to expeditiously reschedule this historic vote."

In addition to Sierra Club, groups signing the letter include the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and Renewable Energy Long Island.

On July 14, Cuomo had issued a statement saying he "strongly encouraged" LIPA's board to approve the project.

"I strongly encourage the Trustees to once again demonstrate New York's leadership on climate change and help achieve the state's ambitious goal of supplying 50 percent of our electricity from renewable energy by 2030," he wrote in a statement.

Environmental groups pointed to those words in their own call for the project to move forward.

“We couldn't agree with the Governor more," the said. "When opportunity knocks, we must open the door. We need Governor Cuomo to ensure this vote happens quickly so that offshore wind power becomes a reality for New York."

Deepwater is negotiating the offtake agreement with LIPA. The Authority is expected to vote in favor of the project.