Ambitious Wind Energy Project Moves Forward


As expected, the ocean floor 30 miles off the coast of Montauk was chosen as the site of an ambitious 880 MW wind farm that will be the largest in the country.

Though an American company, Deepwater Wind, did the legwork for the project, the developers and owners will be two giant international power companies, Ørsted and Eversource. The new farm will comprise at least 100 wind turbines and is being called Sunrise Wind.

Governor Andrew Cuomo an-nounced the state had selected Sunrise Wind on July 17. “Ørsted and Eversource will support the state’s ambitious renewable energy goals, establish an enduring offshore wind supply chain and provide new jobs for New Yorkers,” he said in a press release.

The project is apparently only the beginning. There are a half-dozen similar projects in various degrees of planning, all of them to be situated in the waters east and northeast of Montauk off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

This news increased concerns over fisheries in the area. Last week East Wind LLC, which was mulling six locations for wind farms off the coast of Suffolk County, abruptly withdrew its plans.

“We attended some of the stakeholder meetings, listened to some of the concerns the fishermen and other users expressed,” said Bill White, a managing director of East Wind. Instead, his company will look at sites further west, as far away as New Jersey.

Preliminary plans filed with the state show there is little interaction between the Sunrise and South Fork Wind Farm projects.

Deepwater, which has since been bought by Ørsted, apparently began the process that culminated with the Sunrise project in October 2013 when the company entered into an agreement with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to lease the bottomland proposed for the wind farm. But a nearby site was signed by RES America Development Inc.

There is some conjecture Ørsted and yet another company, Bay State Wind, were working like a consolidated group rather than as separate competing companies.

“Power from the Sunrise Wind Farm will be delivered to the local grid in Brookhaven Town via a dedicated transmission line,” said Meagan Wims, a spokeswoman for Ørsted. “No portion of the transmission line for Sunrise Wind will pass through East Hampton Town.”

Sunrise proposes to invest $10 million for a Workforce Training Center and $11 million for a major port infrastructure development fund. The project could be operational by 2024.

Meanwhile, Vineyard Winds, an 84-turbine wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, has been derailed; there are concerns the underground cable could harm some fish species.

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