NEW YORK CITY, New York: Crews have begun work to build a wind farm off Wainscott, New York, as political and business leaders lauded the start of construction of New York State’s first offshore wind generated power facility.
Kicking off a groundbreaking ceremony in East Hampton, Governor Kathy Hochul said, “Long Island, you are the first, it is always great to be first, congratulations,” adding that the work was “just the beginning.”
She noted that the South Fork Wind Farm, which will generate 130 megawatts of offshore wind to the East End and power 70,000 homes, is a small part of the state’s goal of generating 9,000 megawatts of wind by 2035, or some one-third of the state’s energy needs.
“It is always more expensive to be the first. Every new form of energy is going to have some initial start-up costs,” Hochu told Newsday, referring to the cost of the project, totaling $2 billion.
“You will eventually see costs come down. This was an important investment,” she added.
Compared with South Fork Wind’s average 21 cents per kilowatt-hour cost over 25 years, more recently contracted projects are priced at some 8 cents, about the same cost as conventional natural gas power plants.
Meanwhile, Long Island Power Authority chief Tom Falcone called the wind farm, approved in 2017, “a great project and a long time coming.”
“We are establishing, right here, an entirely new form of energy, not just for the East End and New York, but this region,” he said.
Customer bills are expected to increase $1.58 a month when the wind mills are producing power from developers Orsted and EverSource, whose officials praised New York for leading the offshore wind transition.
“We are able to leapfrog from the 60 to 70-year old plants to a new form of generation,” Falcone said.
Opponents of the land-based cable in Wainscott were not at the event, but a small contingent of commercial fishing interests were outside.
Mike McKeon, spokesman for the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, said that while the group supports offshore wind, “We continue to have serious reservations regarding an infrastructure project that runs its cable through residential neighborhoods, and next to a toxic Superfund site, particularly when better alternative sites were available. Our focus will continue to be on protecting our community.”