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Largest Offshore Wind Farm In US Gets Go Ahead: New York Makes Bold Commitment

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Power Authority voted to approve the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, and the first offshore wind farm in New York. The approval of the South Fork Wind Farm, a 90-megawatt development 30 miles south-east of Montauk, is the first step toward developing an area that can host up to 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind power. The wind farm, which is out of sight from Long Island’s beaches, will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 Long Island homes with clean, renewable energy, and will help meet increasing electricity demand on the South Fork of Long Island.

The vote comes two weeks after Governor Cuomo called on LIPA to approve the wind farm project and announced an unprecedented commitment to developing up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 in his regional State of the State address on Long Island. The 2.4-gigawatt target, which is enough power generation for 1.25 million homes, is the largest commitment to offshore wind energy in U.S. history, helping to bring this valuable resource to New Yorkers at a scale unmatched in the United States.

“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.”

The LIPA Board approved a contract submitted by Deepwater Wind for the South Fork Wind Farm after a year-long process engaging the private sector for the best available clean energy generation ideas and detailed cost modelling. Other elements of LIPA’s South Fork energy portfolio include transmission enhancements and additional clean energy solutions such as battery storage and consumer electricity demand reduction. The board has also approved a 20-year pay-for-performance Power Purchase Agreement, allowing the utility to only pay for delivered energy without taking construction or operating risk. Advancing technology and innovation reduced the projects all-in wind energy price to be competitive with other renewable energy sources.

In addition to today’s approval for the South Fork Wind Farm, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is continuing to develop an Offshore Wind Master Plan outlining the State’s commitment to developing cost-effective offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New York. The Master Plan, to be released in late 2017, will show how additional New York coastal sites may be developed responsibly and will set capacity targets and commercial operation dates for each site. The state will continue to work closely with coastal community members, the fishing and maritime industries, environmental advocates and other stakeholders to identify additional offshore wind energy sites to be included in New York’s Offshore Wind Master Plan.

Tom Falcone, LIPA’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are confident this is the first step to developing the tremendous potential of offshore wind off Long Island’s coast and meeting Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard. This project is the right size, at the right location and demonstrates how smart energy decisions can reduce cost while providing renewable energy and clean air for all of Long Island.”

John Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA said: “New York is leading the nation in developing offshore wind to provide clean, renewable energy and I applaud LIPA’s approval of the South Fork Wind Farm. Offshore wind has great potential to help us achieve our ambitious clean energy goals under the Clean Energy Standard and Reforming the Energy Vision as well as the Governor’s 2.4 gigawatt goal, and this project will reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment for generations to come.”

New York State Senator Phil Boyle said, “I applaud the Long Island Power Authority’s consideration of the proposed 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm east of Montauk. With major changes in NY’s energy markets in recent years, including retirements of coal and nuclear generation and an increasing reliance on natural gas, it is more essential than ever to increase local renewable energy sources on a large scale. The proposal by Deepwater Wind will create jobs, and will ensure the protection of NY’s coastline, the tourism industry, and the quality of life for all here on Long Island.”

Kit Kennedy from NRDC said, “This is what our clean energy future looks like. Greenlighting the nation’s largest – and New York’s first – offshore wind farm would be a giant step forward in finally unleashing the largely untapped potential of this plentiful source of clean energy. Approving this project is critical to putting Governor Cuomo’s bold climate goals for the state into action.”

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Our transition from fossil fuels to renewables has just taken a giant leap forward with this historic decision. This is game changer, a legacy that all New Yorkers will be proud of. By tackling climate change head on New York is proving to be a global leader.”

Karl R. Rábago, Pace Energy and Climate Center said, “It is gratifying to see years of advocacy for clean energy development bearing fruit in such a spectacular fashion. And it is inspiring to have the leadership in New York that made it happen.”

John R. Durso, President, Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO said, “LIPA’s decision to enter into an agreement with Deepwater Wind is good news for the Long Island labor movement. It is a first step in realizing the potential for a new American industry with Long Island at the epicentre. We thank New York State for their commitment to our energy future, an opportunity which includes union jobs. We are excited to put our skilled workforce on the job.”

Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York’s economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and generating 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 730 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050.

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