- Report: Atlantic Offshore Wind Power Within Reach for New York

For Immediate Release: July 10, 2014 

Report: Atlantic Offshore Wind Power Within Reach for New York

State Action Urgently Needed to Benefit Ratepayers, Create Jobs, Cut Pollution

New York –Over 1.5 million acres off the Atlantic coast which have been reviewed by the federal government – enough to power over five million homes – are ready for offshore wind development according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power contains a new analysis showing how strong, consistent winds offshore can provide power to New York right when we need it most - bringing down energy costs and cutting pollution.

“The Atlantic Ocean is a clean energy and job-producing goldmine,” said Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at the National Wildlife Federation. “With areas offshore that can power 5 million homes currently available for leasing, it is a critical moment for state leaders to seize this golden opportunity and create a clean energy future powered by American workers that can protect our wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”

Ed Murphy, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Institute - a statewide New York non-profit that supports economic development and good jobs for working families, said, "Offshore wind would be an important part of New York's energy mix and would create good, clean energy jobs which WDI has supported through our green sector programs, its Offshore Wind Coalition and its Offshore Wind Supply Chain database ."

Highlights of Catching the Wind include:

  • Areas Already Designated for Offshore Wind Development Could Power Over 5 Million American Homes. This is a massive, local clean power opportunity currently available to state energy planners with the capacity to power the equivalent of all households in New Jersey and South Carolina combined. What’s needed now is action by Governor Cuomo to drive offshore wind markets and spur critical project contracts forward.
  • Offshore Wind Power Could Save Millions as Part of a Diverse Energy Portfolio. This past winter, New Yorkers experienced record breaking electricity and heating bills due to soaring natural gas prices. Diversifying New York’s energy mix with a clean and stable alternative to natural gas, coal and oil is critical for protecting families and businesses from price spikes in the volatile fossil fuel markets.
  • Offshore Wind Power Will Spark Massive Job Creation. Offshore wind power is a booming global industry supporting over 58,000 jobs and over $20 billion in annual investments projected for the next 10 years.
  • Offshore Wind Power Can Help States Meet New Carbon Pollution Limits. Offshore wind can play a central role in meeting New York’s carbon emission reductions proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Offshore Wind Power is an Environmentally Responsible Energy Choice: As decades of experience in Europe indicates, strong environmental requirements can ensure that offshore wind power is sited, constructed, and operated in a manner that protects coastal and marine wildlife.

Catching the Wind highlights key progress made to date, finding that states are playing a major role in advancing offshore wind projects.

New York, in particular, has a major opportunity to invest in  offshore wind power through the Long Island Power Authority, which in 2013 announced a request for proposals for 280 MW of new renewable energy generation, enough to power 120,000 New York homes. There is over 8,000 MW of electricity generation potential identified across two areas off Southern New England and Long Island that could provide a massive new clean energy resource in these densely populated areas. The state has also taken proactive steps to explore offshore wind power through the New York Power Authority-led collaborative proposal with LIPA and ConEd which could lead to a 350-700 MW project in waters off of New York City.

The report challenges New York State’s leaders to move forward with the following actions:

1.       Set a bold goal for offshore wind power in New York State’s energy plan.

2.       Take action to ensure a competitive market for offshore wind power by passing and implementing policies to directly advance offshore wind power and reduce pollution across the electricity sector, pursuing regional market-building opportunities, and supporting key federal incentives.

3.       Advance critical contracts for offshore wind projects, including facilitating and approving necessary power purchase contracts and rate recovery proposals and pursuing regional procurement opportunities.

4.       Ensure an efficient, environmentally responsible leasing process, working closely with the federal government and key experts and stakeholders to ensure transparency and strong protections for coastal and marine wildlife.

5.       Invest in key research, initiatives, and infrastructure helpful for advancing offshore wind development including baseline environmental data, stakeholder engagement initiatives, opportunities to maximize local supply chain and job creation, and upgrades to transmission and port facilities.

Catching the Wind has been endorsed by the following organizations in New York: Environmental Advocates of New York; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club; Alliance for Clean Energy New York; Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Renewable Energy Long Island; New York League of Conservation Voters; New York Public Interest Research Group; Pace Energy and Climate Center of Pace Law School; Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.; Environment New York; and Workforce Development Institute.

“It’s a waste of time, money and our natural resources for offshore energy debates to focus on drilling when we have clean, renewable and profitable wind available. New York needs to act now to provide an alternative to the natural gas markets that drove utility bills through the roof last winter. Our coastal wind resource potential is well documented, it is time to move on from planning studies to actual offshore projects,” said Conor Bambrick, air and energy director for Environmental Advocates of New York.

"New Yorkers are ready to lead the nation in developing cutting-edge offshore wind off our coasts, but we need Governor Cuomo to get us there. We're counting on the Governor to make this 21st century clean energy resource a reality, along with the good jobs and cleaner air that will come with it," said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Representative of the Sierra Club.

“The vast wind resource off New York's coast can provide tremendous amounts of pollution-free energy; with no fuel costs,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “A strong commitment to offshore wind from New York leaders is critical so that we can meet our energy needs and tackle the pollution that is altering our climate.” 

"It is urgent that we invest significant resources to transition to a green energy economy based on a balanced portfolio of clean, safe and fuel-free renewable generation and energy efficiency.  Offshore wind is a critical component of this shift and should be embraced as a major solution to the climate crisis we now face," says Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  

“Long Island’s high electric rates and need for extra power during summer heat waves make offshore wind power particularly attractive to our region,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island. “Support from Governor Cuomo will now be crucial to enable Long Island to harvest the clean and abundant energy source right here off our shores.”

"We are hoping that NY takes these recommendations to heart," stated Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, "so that the business of offshore wind can flourish in New York, bringing jobs, local investment, and fuel-free power."

"Harnessing the power of offshore wind means cleaner air, green jobs, economic growth, and a path to getting New York back on track toward meeting our clean energy goals while combating climate change," said NYPIRG Environmental Campaign Organizer Joe Stelling. "This report underscores what an incredible opportunity New York has at its fingertips in offshore wind, but we need our leaders to make it a reality."

“This report demonstrates an authentic opportunity to establish meaningful offshore wind energy for Long Island. With a number of exciting projects on the horizon, we need our leaders to ensure offshore wind will finally become a reality. Offshore wind allows New York to meet several critical objectives including diversifying our energy portfolio, making us more resilient to climate change, creating good, local jobs and increases our energy independence. Continuing to stall the development of offshore wind is no longer acceptable. The clean winds are changing and the time to act is now”, stated Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

"As today’s report underscores, New York has tremendous potential to lead the nation in clean energy," said New York League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn. "Offshore wind energy will not only help clean the air, it will create 21st century jobs that are desperately needed on Long Island and around New York State. We urge New York’s elected leaders to stand up for offshore wind.”

“Clean offshore wind power not only fights global warming by replacing dirty fossil fuels, it also can provide thousands of good, local jobs for New Yorkers,” said Kit Kennedy, Director of NRDC’s Energy and Transportation Program. “For too long, the U.S. has lagged behind Europe and even China capturing the enormous clean energy potential blowing off our shores. New York—and the entire Atlantic Coast—are now closer than ever to moving American offshore wind power from the drawing boards to our blustery coasts.”

Read the report at NWF.org/OffshoreWind.

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