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PSEG delays energy plan, state wants more wind analysis

PSEG Long Island is reviewing several proposals, including

PSEG Long Island is reviewing several proposals, including one by Deepwater Wind that would place a 90-megawatt wind farm 30 miles offshore from Montauk Point. Credit: Deepwater Wind

PSEG Long Island will postpone by two months the long-awaited release of a plan for the Island’s energy sources as LIPA and the state call for further analysis of offshore wind-energy proposals and the state’s clean energy standard.

PSEG since 2015 has been working on a so-called integrated resource plan that examines scores of options for new energy sources, including the cost, rate impact and necessity of each.

PSEG has already said that no new major power resources are needed until 2028, but advocacy groups and developers are alternatively calling for more green energy, plant overhauls and new traditional plants.

At a South Fork Clean Energy Forum on Wednesday, PSEG Long Island president Dave Daly said the power plan, which was originally due out in spring, would be delayed “a couple of months” to late August or September.

LIPA and the state Department of Public Service requested that PSEG “do more significant offshore wind modeling” in the plan, as proposals for major wind-energy proposals gain momentum in the state and on Long Island.

PSEG is evaluating a 90-megawatt wind-energy proposal by Deepwater Wind that would be located 30 miles offshore from Montauk. The proposal by the Rhode Island company is among a handful of finalists in PSEG’s review, and it is favored by town representatives working with PSEG in an unprecedented collaborative to review new energy for the South Fork, which officials want to see powered 100 percent by renewable energy.

The wind-farm proposal would accompany a series of transmission upgrades, battery storage and peak-power reduction proposals to head off a power shortage expected on the South Fork starting next year.

Daly said it was too early to say whether any proposal was the winner, but noted, “There clearly are several scenarios which are much more attractive to the collaborative.” Daly said that if residential and business customers took full advantage of rooftop solar, business efficiency and demand reduction on the South Fork, a combined 138 megawatts of power could be sliced.

John Rhodes, chief executive of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, spoke at length at the forum on the prospect of wind energy in the state, much of it located off Long Island. “If you are thinking about offshore wind, you are thinking about Long Island,” he said.

The state, at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s command, is developing an offshore wind master plan that will examine the potential for wind-energy in the state, among other things. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has already identified one 81,000-acre site around 20 miles south of Long Beach. NYSERDA expects there will be “several” more in federal waters off New York, in part to help fuel a new industry that needs to be large enough to gain economies of scale.

“We talk about an offshore energy economy,” Rhodes said. “It’s real. And it’s real in offshore wind.”

But while attendees of the clean-energy forum appeared unanimous in their support for wind energy here as the first U.S. project gets underway off Block Island, one official cautioned that the industry’s growth must be cognizant of local impacts.

“We have to make sure we work very closely with the fishing industry,” said former Southampton Town Supervisor and U.S. congressional candidate Anna Throne-Holst, a wind-energy supporter. Some fishing groups have said the location of the federal project directly conflicts with fishing for squid, scallops and whiting, among other fisheries. Throne-Holst called for the formation of a fishing industry working group to address the concerns.

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