In the midst of political turbulence, the feds are continuing to plan for what could be the largest offshore wind farm in the country — right in our backyard.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is hosting a public meeting in Manhattan Wednesday night to discuss progress on the Long Island – New York City Offshore Wind Project, which has been working its way through a multi-year review process.
Almost 200 3.6-megawatt wind turbines could eventually be constructed 13 miles off the Rockaway Peninsula as part of the project. The wind farm could yield as much as 700 MW of energy—enough electricity to power an estimated 245,000 homes.
BOEM is holding a public meeting this Wednesday evening (6/29), from 5 to 8pm, at the TKP New York Conference Center, located at 109 West 39th Street. (The meeting is in the Empire A Room.)
In the last two weeks, BOEM has held public meetings in four states (Long Branch, NJ; Hempstead and Westhampton Beach, NY; Narragansett, RI; and New Bedford, MA) in order to update the public on how the wind farm is progressing and offer additional opportunities for comment.
You can also weigh in on the project in writing — read about the public review process below.
Part Of The State’s Plan To Fight Climate Change
The Long Island – New York City wind project is intended to help New York State reach its goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.
The project was launched as a collaborative effort between Con Edison, the Long Island Power Authority and the New York Power Authority.
Auctioning Off Development Rights
BOEM is preparing to host a competitive auction where bidders will vie for the lease to develop wind energy in 81,130 acres of federal waters off the New York coast. The agency is also hosting a public seminar this afternoon to describe the auction format and explain the rules to participants.
Wind power is steadily becoming more commercially viable. Other potential wind farm developers have expressed interest in the site off the Rockaways, according to Tracey Moriarty, a BOEM spokeswoman.
Developers of the Long Island – New York City project could construct as many as 194 wind turbines off the coast. The wind farm is moving through a four-step review process.
1.) Environmental & Visual Review
BOEM has conducted a preliminary environmental review of the potential impacts of a wind farm in the proposed ocean site.
Read more here about how to submit a comment on BOEM’s environmental review — the deadline is July 6th.
What sorts of impacts could such a project have? Local wildlife habitats could be disrupted, as could commercial fishing areas.
Another possible impact is visual. BOEM has been studying the impact on views from the coastline of a hypothetical array of 100+ wind turbines measuring 577.4 feet (176 meters) from water level to blade tip, which are configured in a grid pattern with roughly 5,000 feet between turbines. The turbines are assumed to be painted pale gray per Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
The agency has generated photographs and videos to simulate views of this hypothetical wind farm under various weather conditions and times of day and night. The simulations were generated from a series of “key” observation points.
Public feedback regarding how the wind farm could impact the viewshed for coastal areas of New York and New Jersey will be used by BOEM as it finalizes the exact area of the ocean to be developed.
A lease to develop the wind farm in federal waters will be issued to the winner of a competitive auction process.
The 60-day public comment period on the proposed sale of leasing rights ends on August 5, 2016. Read more here about how to submit a comment and see feedback on the project from other government agencies.
3.) Final Site Assessment
A site assessment plan will be developed, which involves the collection of more information (e.g., wind speed data, biological data) about the area proposed for development.
4.) Operations Plan & Final Review
The wind farm’s developer will submit a construction and operations plan. BOEM must then carry out a full environmental review of the project.
Photo credit: BOEM