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Source: LIPA rejects planned solar farm, offshore wind project

A newly installed turbine Aug. 4, 2016, off

A newly installed turbine Aug. 4, 2016, off Rhode Island. Credit: Deepwater Wind

LIPA has rejected a proposal to build the state’s largest solar farm in woodlands around the shuttered Shoreham nuclear plant, saying the project faced an uphill climb for permits and lacked community support, a senior LIPA official said Thursday.

LIPA, in a review of more than a dozen green-energy projects, also declined a proposal to construct a second, larger offshore wind farm beside one it has already contracted Deepwater Wind for off the Rhode Island coast.

The official explained that LIPA had ample green-power sources to meet its short-term state mandates without the second Deepwater Wind project’s proposed 210 megawatts of energy. He noted LIPA will have other opportunities to purchase wind energy through a recently signed memorandum of understanding with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority specifically centered on offshore wind.

Private developers have proposed two separate federal projects off Long Island’s South Shore by the mid 2020s, and prices for wind energy are expected to decline over the next decade.

LIPA also didn’t select a joint proposal by developers Invenergy and Anbaric Holdings to deliver out-of-state wind and solar energy through a new undersea power cable called Poseidon, the official said, because building a new transmission line was “not a low-cost endeavor.”

LIPA will present its actions at a trustees meeting in Uniondale on Wednesday.

Deepwater in a statement said that while it was “disappointed” by LIPA’s decision not to build the second wind farm, “we’re confident that our future projects will help New York reach its 2,400-megawatt offshore wind target.” Representatives for the other companies declined comment or couldn’t be reached.

In the end, LIPA will choose two large projects in this latest round of bid requests, for utility-scale solar arrays rated at a combined 58.9 megawatts in Calverton — one by sPower and another by Long Island Solar, a partnership of National Grid and NextEra. LIPA said the projects will increase average customer bills about 40 cents a month when it’s operational by 2021.

LIPA also selected 31 commercial rooftop projects around Long Island as part of a separate so-called feed-in tariff initiative, amounting to some 20 megawatts, or around 12 cents a month for customers.

A second feed-in tariff will be awarded to a developer that plans to install three low-emission fuel cells at the Brookhaven Rail Terminal in Yaphank by 2018, costing residential ratepayers about $1.13 a month.

In all, the projects will add about 120 megawatts of new green energy to the grid, helping the utility to meet its mandate of 800 megawatts of new renewables by 2030 to meet a state goal.

LIPA wouldn’t say whether cost specifically factored into its decision to pass on Deepwater Wind’s proposal to build a 210-megawatt wind farm 30 miles from Montauk Point beside the 90-megawatt project. But the official said with a preponderance of projects on the horizon for most states along the eastern seaboard, there’s a high likelihood of getting economies of scale as the U.S. wind industry develope, and costs decrease.

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