UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Long Island Power Authority unanimously approved a $740 million plan to build a small wind farm off the East End.
The 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm would be the second wind project built to date in the United States.
Officials hope it will help prove the feasibility of larger offshore wind farms in the U.S. Several auctions have been held to develop wind energy sites along the east coast.
The vote commits LIPA to a 20-year contract with Deepwater Wind, which last month opened a five-turbine wind farm off Rhode Island.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is committed to developing up to 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. That’s enough power for 1.25 million homes.
Environmentalists applauded the plan.
“It’s a no brainer,” Gordian Raacke said. “Makes sense for the environment, it makes sense for the economy, it creates good paying jobs and it’s just the right thing to do.”
“It is one of the great answers to our energy challenges of the millennium,” environmentalist Adrienne Esposito said. “It has opened up the gateway to long-term, large scale, offshore wind power which is clean, it’s safe, it’s renewable, it produces local jobs.”
But as TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reports, some commercial fishing groups are opposed. They say driving the giant turbines into the ocean bed floor will kill many thousands of fish.
“That’s a 15 square mile area, that’s a big ocean to fish,” Bonnie Brady from the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association says. “Every time you pile drive you are killing fish within three quarters of a mile of that area. That’s a lot of real estate of fish killing.”
Environmentalists dispute the fishing industry’s claims, maintaining that wind turbines are less harmful to fish than oil spills from tanker ships.
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