The Town of East Hampton has approved the proposed offshore South Fork wind farm cable to be buried under the beach in Wainscott shortly before the town is slated to debate a proposal to incorporate that hamlet as a village in a bid to pull the plug on the project.
The town board voted 5-1 on Jan. 21 to allow the wind farm’s developers, Danish energy company Orsted and New England-based Eversource, to bring the 132-megawatt electrical transmission cable ashore 30 feet below the beach at Beach Lane in Wainscott so it can connect to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton. Then on Feb. 5, the town will hold a public hearing on the proposed incorporation of Wainscott as a village — a move critics hope can keep work crews off their shores.
“I vote yes to advancing our commitment to renewable energy and continuing East Hampton’s long tradition of leadership in protecting the environment,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. Once approved by the state Public Service Commission and federal agencies, the town stands to earn almost $29 million in payments over 25 years from the developers.
Environmentalists praised the measure advancing the proposed 15-turbine wind farm in federal waters 30 miles east of Montauk Point, which is billed as the first offshore wind farm in New York State when it is expected to be completed in 2023. The vote came a week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a second wind farm 60 miles off Montauk that will connect to Queens.
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, the group petitioning for incorporation, suggested that it will take the town to court to block the move.
“This illegal and reckless action is the latest example of the town board’s appeasement of Orsted to grab for dollars and indulge their ego,” said Michael McKeon, a spokesman for the group. “They are taking short cuts because the Supervisor is afraid of Wainscott incorporating. We have sought to avoid litigation but the town board has made this inevitable and we will initiate litigation against any governmental body that fails to adhere to the letter and spirit of laws designed to protect the citizens of Wainscott.”