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State allows procurement of another big block of offshore wind energy

Deepwater Wind offshore wind farm at Block Island

Deepwater Wind offshore wind farm at Block Island on Aug. 14, 2016. Credit: Newsday/Mark Harrington

Even as the federal government continues a prolonged review of the impact of wind-energy turbines in federal waters, New York state on Thursday approved another big solicitation for offshore wind energy. 

The state Public Service Commission authorized the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to procure at least 1,000 megawatts more of offshore wind energy, with the ability to boost the amount to upward of 2,500 megawatts if pricing and other terms are "sufficiently compelling," the PSC said. 

It's the second big round of offshore wind buys planned by the state. Last year, NYSERDA approved two bids for more than 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind to be completed in 2024, enough to power more than one million homes. The commission cited sharp price declines in authorizing the purchase. The state has a goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. 

The move comes as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management continues a cumulative impact study of offshore wind on fishing and shipping, a review of a project called Vineyard Wind that had been expected to be completed last year, even as it processes paperwork for a dozen other projects. The Trump administration has been criticized for giving low priority to offshore wind in favor of fossil-fuel energy sources.

Green-energy advocates applauded the state's move. Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, an industry group, said quick action by the PSC "will help ensure that New York is able to take maximum advantage of expiring federal tax credits, limited offshore lease areas, and the developing offshore wind supply chain."

Long Island Association president Kevin Law said the latest state move will "lead to the creation of good-paying jobs and attract billions of dollars of private investment in our region; and with the economy in shambles because of the coronavirus, we need these clean energy investments now more than ever."

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