New York State just took a huge step toward a renewable energy future.
On January 25, the Long Island Power Authority approved the South Fork Wind Farm, which will be the country’s largest offshore wind farm once completed. The turbines will sit off the eastern tip of Long Island, between New York and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
The farm will feature 15 600-foot-tall turbines, and is expected to generate enough power for 50,000 homes in Long Island. The 256-square-mile territory has room for as many as 200 turbines, so there is a possibility for expansion.
Deepwater Wind, the company that will build the farm, is leasing the land the federal government. A 50-mile undersea cable will connect the turbines to a substation in East Hampton, a Long Island town that set a goal to meeting 100% of its electric demand with renewable energy by 2020.
The project has a projected cost of $740 million, which Deepwater plans to finance using loans and equity investments, according to The New York Times. Deepwater estimates that construction could start as early as 2019, which means the wind farm could be operational as early as 2022. Once built, it will be three times larger than Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm, which was completed in 2016 and is currently the country’s biggest offshore wind farm.
The new initiative comes at a time when the Trump administration is seeking to scale back environmental regulations nationwide.
On January 24, the Environmental Protection Agency was ordered to freeze its contracts and grants, a move the Washington Post said could affect everything from state-led climate research to local efforts to improve air and water quality. Axios also reported that Trump team intends to cut millions of dollars from the EPA’s budget and roll back the Clean Air Act’s greenhouse gas regulations, according to a leaked document.
The Long Island Power Authority is confident, however, that wind power projects will continue to grow in the US.
“It is the largest project to date, but it will not be the last project,” Thomas Falcone, the power authority’s chief executive, reportedly said before the farm’s vote.