USA to auction leasing rights offshore NY for wind energy development

Let’s go fly a kite new technology to capture wind energy

"New York is a critical component in building a robust U.S. offshore wind industry", said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Abigail Ross Hopper. "The development of Long Island's vast offshore wind resources will further strengthen New York's place at the forefront of the clean energy revolution", New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo noted in response to the auction announcement.

Fourteen companies from Europe and the United States have qualified to take part in the 15 December federal auction for the roughly 700MW New York offshore wind zone.

The event will focus, in large part, on a major milestone: for the first time in USA history, an offshore wind farm will connect to the electric grid next month when Deepwater Wind's five turbines begin to produce electricity off the coast of Block Island.

The cost of wind energy dropped 61 percent between 2009 and 2015, according to a study by investment bank Lazard previous year, which also found wind to be competitive with, and often below, the cost of conventional generation like natural gas. And initial plans are now underway to start the process of developing offshore wind power off the California and Hawaii coasts.

Upon completion, the farm will generate enough electricity to power 17,000 average United States homes and offset 121,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, but it is the hope that it is the first of many offshore wind farms that has raised the spirits of the industry.

The BOEM auction will also allow the State's clean energy agency, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), an opportunity to pioneer a new model for scaling up offshore wind power that other states can soon follow, by bidding into the auction in an effort to facilitate project development and reduce overall costs.

A reporter noted that Trump again criticized wind energy earlier this week, saying it's expensive, a concern Branstad said he's been talking with the billionaire developer about.

LeedCo is developing the $127 million Icebreaker project to demonstrate that offshore turbines are viable in the Great Lakes, a region with the potential to generate 1,000 megawatts of wind energy by 2020. A wind turbine 80 feet tall can power a single home while a utility-scale turbine powers hundreds of homes. But because there is no guarantee that the victor of a federal lease will be selected for a long-term contract, complications can ensue.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will auction the rights to 79,350 acres or about 125 square miles (325 square kilometers) in federal waters.



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