State leaders tout offshore LI wind farms

Close up of a person taking notes as

Close up of a person taking notes as opening speaker Pete Grannis, First Deputy Comptroller for NYS, speaks at the Offshore Wind in 2012 conference held in Melville. (July 31, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile)

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Long Island can become a major wind energy hub -- if plans for offshore wind farms are approved, industry leaders and government officials said Tuesday.

"The need is there; the opportunities are there," said Pete Grannis, New York State first deputy comptroller, addressing environmental groups at the Island's first Offshore Wind Conference.

Environmentalists at the Melville conference criticized federal officials for not embracing the green energy promised by the offshore farms. None currently exist in the United States, energy leaders say, while they are abundant in Europe.

Deepwater Wind, an energy company based in Rhode Island, has proposals pending for at least four offshore wind farms on the East Coast, including a 1,000-megawatt farm 30 miles east of Montauk.

Bill Moore, the company's chief executive, said creating the farms has become more profitable thanks to larger turbines.

Officials from the New York Power Authority discussed their plans -- a partnership with Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority -- to build a 350- to 700-megawatt wind farm off the coast of the Rockaways.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign, one of the groups that sponsored the conference, criticized NYPA for moving too slowly.

"It could and should move faster, if there was political will."

NYPA's Robin Shanen, who is managing the Rockaways project, said the plan is in "its early stages."

Industry leaders are hopeful opponent's concerns over noise and aesthetics will be eliminated by building farms farther off shore.

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