Even though the initial wind turbine project proposed for Long Island foundered over financial and environmental concerns, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week voiced support for a wind farm off the South Shore.
Attending a climate summit in Denmark, Bloomberg on Monday visited an offshore wind turbine farm and said it showed why a project straddling the Nassau-Queens border 13 miles off the Rockaways should proceed.
"We have to do something to generate energy that doesn't send our monies overseas . . .," Bloomberg said. "We want to reduce our dependence on polluting fuels like coal and heavy oil. . . . The technology keeps getting better. . . . They certainly don't hurt any wildlife. They certainly don't pollute what you can see. . . . It gives you a feeling for what it will be, I hope, off the Long Island shore."
After he scrapped a 140-megawatt Long Island Power Authority project off Jones Beach in 2007, the utility's chief executive, Kevin Law, more than a year ago proposed a joint initiative with Con Edison and the city to develop a wind project. It grew into the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project after the New York Power Authority, Port Authority, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other agencies signed on.
The group plans early next year to issue a request for proposals from developers who would pay for and build a project of up to 700 megawatts by 2015 and sell the energy to the agencies, Law said. He said community meetings will be scheduled next month in Queens and Nassau.
He added it is backed by the White House and Gov. David A. Paterson, "so the political support is certainly there. Putting it out 13 miles takes away the NIMBY concerns. We still have to look at the environmental and economic impacts. But the chances of this project moving forward are significant."
But Dowling College business school dean Matthew Cordaro, former chief executive of several utilities, said, "Wind technology is still not efficient and cannot supply significant amounts of power because of the intermittent nature of the wind. The cost is excessive for the installation and transporting the power." He said it would be more efficient to install new technology in existing power plants.
Dick Moore of West Gilgo, co-chair of the Save Jones Beach Ad Hoc Committee that formed to fight the initial wind project, said, "Things haven't changed economically. And putting it farther out to sea is going to make it more expensive."
But Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a nonprofit energy conservation group, who visited a Danish wind farm in Copenhagen in 2003, said, "The chances are much better now than with the initial project. The new proposed project is much larger so there are economies of scale, and it's much farther out so it's less visible."