Blog > WHY NYC SHOULD AVOID THROWING CAUTION TO THE WIND
09.13.2011by: Editor | Clean Technology
Sam Ramsden, Researcher for The Climate Group, discusses plans for an offshore wind farm off the coast of Long Island and explores the benefits that could come with it.
Plans for an offshore wind farm 20 kilometers off the coast of New York’s Long Island have been advanced in a prospective private-public partnership betweenCon Edison, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA).
The project can be seen as part of New York State’s overarching plan to meet 45% of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by the year 2015, dubbed ‘45 by 15’.
This target is subsumed under a wider strategy set by PlaNYC, which has stimulated over a hundred initiatives which aim to reduce GHG emissions 30% by 2030.
So, how much will this project contribute towards these ambitious targets for New York?
A feasibility study has shown that up to 700 MW of wind power could be produced by the marine energy farm. That would be enough energy to supply roughly 300,000 families in Long Island district.
The offshore wind project would be located in the Atlantic Ocean in a long wedge-shaped area between shipping channels, directionally aligned southwest of the Rockaway Peninsula with its westerly most point approximately 14 nautical miles (20 km) due south of Nassau County.
The benefits of offshore wind projects are numerous, in comparison to their onshore counterparts. There are efficiency benefits accrued by an offshore location, where the size of the turbines, and the strong and unobstructed winds, can contribute to higher electrical output.
Additionally, offshore farms do not take up valuable land which could be used for other purposes. Land efficiency is vital in areas as highly populated as New York State. Long Island alone has a population of roughly 7.5 million, making it the most populated island in any US state or territory, and the 17th most populous island in the world.
For one of the most densely populated areas in the US to have a significant segment of its energy needs met by a source that does not require land-usage would be hugely beneficial to easing hefty energy demands.
In fact, the proposed location of this wind farm actually increases the potential efficiency of production due to the fact that the supply line will be shortened compared to land projects which are all currently located up-state in the more sparsely populated areas of New York State.
With an energy source which is close to where the electricity is to be used, the energy produced can offset high in-city capacity costs and be more feasibly harnessed due to lower transmission infrastructure requirements.
Research has also shown how the peak generation hours of the proposed offshore wind farm would better suit the corresponding peak consumption trends in the city.
And then there’s the issue of aesthetics. Personally, I find wind turbines to be a pleasurable sight, inducing a vision of a cleaner and more sustainable future.
However, for those who find the turbines offensive or ugly, an offshore farm exiles this visual blemish to the horizon, where the turbines will appear as mere specks on the horizon on only the clearest of days.
In an age of innovation and transformational change, where more and more cities are striving to progress toward cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy, it seems the prospects for offshore wind generation are promising.
There’s a lot of wind out there, we just have to work out how to utilize to it!