Top Cuomo administration officials unveiled a state-subsidized plan in Montauk Thursday that will eliminate the need for loud, polluting portable generators to power mobile food trucks.
Officials also gave an update on the plan for an offshore wind blueprint that would lay the groundwork for the state to site wind-energy turbines in federal waters from New Jersey to Rhode Island, including potentially thousands off Long Island’s South Shore.
But with the wind-energy plan still potentially weeks away, officials Thursday focused on power pedestals, which allow food trucks and other outside vendors to plug into a grid-based energy source and manage their account via a mobile app.
At Ditch Plains, the popular Montauk surfing beach, it’s a godsend for Abby and Grant Adams, who operate the Ditch Witch food truck. They paid $1,700 to run an electric line to the pedestal, which the state subsidized through a $200,000 grant working with a company called Move Systems.
Move developed an application that allows users of the pedestals to manage their electric accounts and operate the power, turning it on and off via smart phones. At least three others are planned for Montauk, including one at Ditch Beach and another at Kirk Park, and others will be installed closer to New York City, said Move vice president Jeffrey Hoffman.
“We have to get smarter,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said about deploying clean-energy technologies. “I can’t think of any place that message hits home more than on Long Island,” which was ravaged by superstorm Sandy.
New York State Energy Research and Development Chief Executive John Rhodes said the project has removed the noise and pollution associated with gas-powered generators, and “given the town the beach back.”
As for the wind blueprint, Rhodes said he expects it to be completed by month’s end.
“There’s a tremendous resource in what we call the New York Bight,” he said, referring to waters off Long Island, “way more than we need, we just need to do the work,” including studies of environmental impacts and getting input from stakeholders, such as fishing groups.
As he spoke, workers were putting the finishing touches on a five-turbine Block Island wind farm, the nation’s first. The turbines were visible from Montauk Point, some 14 miles away.
Not all are on board with the state’s wind-energy ambitions, even before they are unveiled.
Montauk commercial scalloper Chris Scola said the area being considered for a 75-megawatt project by Deepwater Wind is a “vitally important fishing area,” particularly for cod, which has had historic depletions in the past several years.
“It’s pretty shocking that the National Marine Fisheries Service hasn’t weighed in on this,” Scola said, referring to the federal fisheries regulator.