Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative?
A: The Offshore Wind Collaborative members include the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Edison), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA). Other interested parties include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York City Department of Enviornmental Protection, the New York State Energy, Research and Development Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The intent of the Collaborative is to assess the feasibility and advance the development of the Long Island–New York City Offshore Wind Project. Its preliminary phase is being underwritten jointly and equally by LIPA, Con Edison and NYPA.
Pending a positive outcome of feasibility assessments and pre-development activities, the Collaborative utility members (LIPA, Con Edison and NYPA) will seek proposals from private development firms to build the project and enter into agreements to purchase the energy produced by the project.
Q: Where would the offshore wind project be located?
A: 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 (13 to 15 standard miles) due south of Nassau County. Water depths in the proposed location range from 18 m to 37 m (60 ft to 120 ft). The exact proposed location has not been determined, as it is pending completion of feasibility, environmental and wind-strength studies.
Q: What will the turbines look like from shore?
A: The Collaborative completed preliminary visualizations of the project at various sizes using 5 MW turbines. Offshore wind turbines are approximately 85 meters (278 feet) tall with a blade span diameter of 110 meter (360 feet). Click here for an interactive map showing preliminary visualizations of the project from several locations along the shore.
Q: How much power would be produced by the offshore wind project?
A: The Long Island–New York City Offshore Wind Project is proposed for 350 megawatts (MW) of generation, with the ability to expand to 700 MW, giving it the potential to be the largest offshore wind project in the country. A 350 MW wind facility operating at 40 percent of its capacity would generate about 1,226,000 megawatt-hours per year, enough energy for about 112,000 homes.
Q: How much is the project expected to cost?
A: The cost of the offshore wind project would be dependent upon a number of still unknown variables, including the size and location of the turbines, the underwater terrain and depth of the water, and the overall logistics of constructing an off-shore facility, and will be determined via competitive bid. Preliminary estimates of the cost of transmission infrastructure modifications needed to accommodate a 350 MW project were $415 million. Incremental transmission infrastructure upgrades needed to accommodate 700 MW were estimated to be an additional $406 million. Formal studies more thoroughly evaluating the interconnection requirements and updating these estimates will be conducted as part of the project evaluation process.
Q: What is the proposed in-service date for the offshore wind project?
A: Current projections of the permitting process would estimate the project’s commercial operation date no earlier than 2017.
Q: What are the expected environmental benefits of the offshore wind project?
A: The New York Public Service Commission estimates that every megawatt-hour of displaced fossil power in the state is equivalent to 900 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). Therefore, a 350 MW wind facility would displace about 540,000 tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to removing 120,000 cars from local roads. New renewable resources will help meet the New York State Master Energy Plan, any potential federal renewable energy goals, and provide for added fuel diversity. In addition, since the New York City and Long Island regions of the state are in a federal non-attainment zone, the project would help meet ozone and other local emission challenges.
Q: Are there expected to be any impacts on marine life, birds, or coastal shoreline?
A: Being 13 nautical miles offshore, studies show that the coastal erosion will be negligible. Preliminary environmental studies, including the potential affect to bird and marine life, were being developed under the guidance of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and are available at these links:
Q: What are the next steps?
A: The Long Island–New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative completed several preliminary assessment studies including the environmental studies mentioned above and an economic assessment of the potential benefits of the project. Click here.
In September 2011, the Collaborative filed an offshore land lease application with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). The federal lease acquisition process, which includes opportunities for public review, is expected to take approximately two to five years to complete.
Q: Can I view the preliminary lease application submitted to the federal government?
A: The lease application is available here: http://www.linycoffshorewind.com/lease_application.html.
Q: How much wind generation is presently in New York State?
A: New York's installed wind capacity totals 1,348 MW as of June 2011, all of which is land-based and located upstate. That represents a three-fold increase in land-in the NYSIO queue as of June 2011.
Q: What offshore wind projects are in operation today in the United States?
A: There are no offshore wind projects in commercial operation today, but there are a number of announced projects along the east coast of the United States at various stages of development. These include Cape Wind (420 MW) in Nantucket Sound, Garden State Offshore Energy (345 MW) off the coast of Atlantic City, and the Deepwater Block Island Wind Farm (29 MW) off the Rhode Island coast and Fisherman's New Jersey near shore project (20 MW).
Q: What offshore wind projects are in operation today internationally?
A: The American Wind Energy Association states that ten countries have wind turbines installed offshore providing clean, renewable electricity: Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, China, and Japan. Additional countries with offshore projects in development include France, Italy, Norway, and Spain.
Q: What kind of response did the Collaborative receive as a result of their Request for Information?
A: We were pleased with the response to the Request for Information (RFI), which was issued in June 2009. It provided the Collaborative more detailed information from equipment manufacturers, wind developers, and other interested parties that is required to perform this assessment and develop an Request for Proposal (RFP). Approximately 30 firms responded to our Request for Information. What was especially great about the response was the diversity of the firms that responded which included developers, manufacturers, consultants, law firms, and vessels and marine services.
Q: Can I view the submissions from the Request for Information (RFI)?
A: The RFI responses, as well of the list of those firms that responded, are confidential.
Q: What is the status of the New York Power Authority (NYPA) wind initiative in the Great Lakes?
A: Following an extensive review and evaluation of the Request for Proposals for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project (GLOW), the NYPA Trustees authorized closure of the GLOW competitive solicitation in September 2011 without making an award. Given the estimated annual cost of the proposals received and recognizing current economic conditions, it was not deemed fiscally prudent for NYPA to commit its resources to the estimated annual subsidy required for the GLOW project. For further information: http://www.nypa.gov/Press/2011/110927b.html
Q: Why did the offshore wind project LIPA announced several years ago not move forward?
A: On August 23, 2007, LIPA terminated the project to install 40 wind turbines off the coast of Jones Beach. Main reasons cited included strong opposition from local groups due to its close proximity to land, the rising cost of the technology at the time, and poor economies of scale.
Q: What are the advantages of an offshore wind project?
A: An interest in reducing the use of fossil fuels for electricity production has generated interest in all types of renewable energy options. For Long Island and New York City, the potential use of offshore wind power could provide a significant amount of clean energy to consumers. Assessing the practicality of harnessing wind and the feasibility of putting a successful wind project into commercial service are the objectives of the Collaborative.
In theory, any successful wind generation project for the New York metropolitan area must be centralized and large enough to be cost effective. It must interact with the electric grid at a high-voltage transmission level, and provide power on the order of hundreds of MWs. It must also be close enough to where electricity is used, so that energy produced can more economically offset high in-city capacity and energy costs, and where it can be more feasibly harnessed due to lower transmission infrastructure requirements.
A Long Island – New York City area wind project warrants an offshore location due to the sheer size and availability of strong, consistent and unobstructed wind. Wind’s relative low-energy density makes it necessary to build large wind turbines in order to generate reasonable amounts of wind power.
An offshore wind facility of this size has distinct advantages over land-based options. Ocean-based wind power is stronger, more consistently available, and is closer to the load centers of New York City and Long Island. Also, land-based wind power availability, unlike offshore facilities, tends to drop off during the hottest part of a summer day, which is precisely the time that New York City and Long Island customers use the most electricity.