Why Wind Works: Offshore Wind News and Education

Articles | November 27, 2023

The growth of offshore wind infrastructure, an affordable renewable energy source which harnesses power from ocean winds, is leading the path towards a future of green electricity in New York. 

[Register for “Why Wind Works,”  a Lunch and Learn presented by NYLCVEF and Citizens Campaign for the Environment on November 30 at noon.]

Offshore wind energy provides locally produced power that will create significant progress towards the development of a clean energy economy by reducing emissions and creating thousands of family sustaining union jobs in the process. It is an essential component of the transition into clean electricity production and a carbon-neutral economy. 

Under the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York has committed to 70% renewable energy by 2030, 100% carbon free electricity by 2040, and an 85% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from levels recorded in 1990 by 2050. As of now, this includes the development of 9000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035, though the recent adoption of the final New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan indicates we will likely require 16-19 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2050, necessitating that our state act aggressively to site and implement these critical projects. 

Unfortunately, factions opposed to offshore wind are spreading false information. Last spring, NYLCVEF hosted a webinar with the NY Offshore Wind Alliance and Citizens Campaign for the Environment on whale protection called Whale Tales and Whale Facts to combat the false narrative that offshore wind is harming marine life. Attendees heard from experts about where the true threats to whales off NY’s coast comes from and what we can do to protect these species. Then in a recent article we went beyond the issue of whales and marine life to extol the overwhelming benefits of OSW and set the record straight on all the misinformation out there. 

The good news is, despite these efforts to muddy the informational waters and quell support, there is a lot of progress happening on the ground.

Last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced approval of Empire 1 and Empire 2. Located off the coast of New York and New Jersey, Empire Wind will provide clean energy to power over 700,000 homes when complete.

[Register for “Why Wind Works,”  a Lunch and Learn presented by NYLCVEF and Citizens Campaign for the Environment on November 30 at noon.]

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recent announcement that New York State was making the largest state investment in renewable energy in U.S. history was a monumental step forward in the state’s effort to meet its climate goals. The announcement called for three offshore wind as well as 22 land-based renewable energy projects..

Completion is the operative word. Some renewable energy projects have faltered, or now face potential non-fulfillment. Just recently, on October 12, the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to deny price adjustments essential to the feasibility of ongoing large-scale renewable energy construction projects, potentially slowing them down or causing their outright cancellation, because of unexpected economic changes, including rising costs. This can’t happen to the projects within the scope of Gov. Hochul’s recent announcement. Way too much is at stake. We must keep the existing offshore energy projects on track. 

There has been other exciting offshore wind news in recent weeks, including the completed installation of the first offshore wind turbine for South Fork Wind, a historic milestone for New York’s offshore wind development and what will be the first completed utility-scale wind farm in the United States in federal waters. Once completed, the 130-megawatt offshore wind farm will produce enough renewable energy to power approximately 70,000 Long Island homes, eliminating up to six million tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road annually over a 25-year period. 

In what is an American first, South Fork Wind’s clean energy will be delivered to the New York grid via the first-ever U.S.-made offshore wind export cable from Nexans, which manufactured the 68-mile subsea cable in its South Carolina facility.

In more big news last week, Gov. Hochul announced the schedule for expedited offshore wind and land-based renewable energy solicitations as part of here 10-Point Action Plan to bolster the state’s growing large-scale renewable industry. The forthcoming RFPs will be released on November 30, 2023, with bids due in January 2024.  

“For New York to transition to a clean energy economy, we can’t just talk about projects, we need to deliver,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “When New York State’s Public Service Commission voted in October to deny price adjustments for large-scale renewable energy projects, putting them at risk, we urged the administration to act quickly to minimize the damage, and [this] announcement is an important step to getting new projects in the pipeline as soon as possible.”

From construction milestones to new bids to a whole lot of misinformation, there’s A LOT going on w/offshore wind. To understand what it all means, join us & Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) for “Why Wind Works,”  a Lunch and Learn on November 30 at noon. Register here.

Our expert panel will include Tighe as well as CCE Executive Director Adrienne Esposito and speakers from BOEM, the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.

There will be an opportunity for Q & A after the presentation.

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