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No Longer Tilting at Windmills

In June of 2019, New York State promulgated the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) which formalized a number of climate goals for the State including a goal that by 2050, greenhouse gas emission levels in the State, will be reduced by 85 percent when compared to the baseline year of 1990. To achieve this goal, the CLCPA identified a number of ambitious targets for the power sector; specifically requiring that by 2030, 70 percent of the State's electricity must come from renewable energy sources. In line with this target, with potential implications for coastal residents, is the requirement that by 2035, at least 9,000 MW of electricity should come from offshore wind energy. This is a substantive increase over a prior goal of generating 2400 MW of power from wind by 2030.

Fire Island residents should be aware that on October 23, 2019, the Governor announced that the State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) had finalized contracts with two companies to provide approximately 1700 MW of offshore wind power which is enough to power up to 1 million homes. The two leasehold areas are depicted below or click here. Of note, the Sunrise Windfarm's cable, will connect to the electrical grid via a connection going underneath Smith Point County Park before connecting to the power substation in Holbrook.

In the State's second offshore wind procurement, NYSERDA selected two projects for contract negotiation: Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind of Equinor Wind US LLC. Together, these projects total 2,490 megawatts. Empire Wind 2 (1,260 megawatts) and Beacon Wind (1,230 megawatts) of Equinor Wind US LLC will generate enough clean energy to power 1.3 million homes and will be major economic drivers, supporting:
  • More than 5,200 direct jobs
  • Combined economic activity of $8.9 billion in labor, supplies, development and manufacturing statewide
  • $47 million in workforce development and just access funding
The Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind projects is intended to deliver significant economic benefits to disadvantaged communities and support the responsible retirement of aging fossil fuel plants in Queens and Nassau County. For more information about the projects, see the 2020 Solicitation Awards Fact Sheet [PDF].

In July 2022, New York State launched its third competitive solicitation, ORECRFP22-1, to procure at least 2,000 additional megawatts of offshore wind energy for New Yorkers. This solicitation comes on the heels of a record-setting auction by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for leases in the New York Bight in February 2022, which drew bids from six companies and totaled $4.37 billion. In addition to increased wind energy generation, the solicitation is also intended to: Implement Nation-Leading $500 Million Offshore Wind Infrastructure Investment; provide new commitments to support U.S. iron and steel, stakeholder engagement, jobs, and workforce development; and provide advanced transmission design to provide enhanced grid resiliency and promote regional offshore wind transmission designs. To learn more about this third solicitation, including the addition of a nation-leading $500 investment in the State's offshore wind ports, manufacturing, and supply chain infrastructure that prioritize Disadvantaged and Frontline communities, see 2022 Solicitation - NYSERDA.

Information on the State's Master Plan for offshore wind, various fact sheets, as well as information concerning various studies and resources both completed and ongoing relating to offshore wind impacts can be found here.

The offshore wind projects associated with the State Master Plan have been the subject of a Generic Environmental Impact Statement published in May 2018 (GEIS), and more recently in February, 2020, a Supplemental GEIS was published and approved by the PSC. The SGEIS was needed to obtain an expected additional procurement of approximately 1,800 MW of offshore wind in the near term. These and other documents such as comments on these documents by various stakeholders can be found on the NYPSC website in PSC Case number 18-e-0071.

The timeline listed on this website suggests an approximate commissioning date of this first phase of the project (1700 MW) as 2024. Those interested in seeing an animation depicting the potential visual impacts of at least one of the projects from Jones Beach should click here.

To maximize the long-term economic benefits to the State from the regional development of offshore wind, the selected projects leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding for a combined investment of $644 million for resilient port facilities in the Capital Region and Brooklyn. These investments will establish the nation's first offshore wind tower manufacturing facility ready to service both offshore and onshore wind farms in the region at the Port of Albany and a cutting-edge staging facility and operations and maintenance hub at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

With these awards, New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, demonstrating the State's unparalleled appetite for clean energy and growing momentum in establishing major ecosystems for workforce development, manufacturing, and operations and maintenance to support the region's offshore wind projects and the development of a green economy. The figure below provides a map of the offshore wind under development, along with locations of proposed port or project facilities. Of note, under this plan, major components of the projects will be manufactured and shipped out of Albany, NY.

VOBEC is a mayor-appointed commission whose purpose is to preserve and improve the quality of the natural and man-made environment within the Village in the face of population growth, urbanization, and technological change and their subsequent demands on natural resources. These areas of focus reflect this mission of maintaining and improving the quality of our life experience and our efforts to foster unified action on environmental problems.

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