Interior designates ‘wind energy area’ off N.Y. coast

Source: Emily Yehle, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Interior Department has designated a new “wind energy area” in the Atlantic Ocean, laying the foundation for future wind farms about 11 nautical miles off the coast of New York.

The decision is part of the department’s broader effort to attract offshore renewable energy development along the East Coast. Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued 11 commercial wind energy leases in the Atlantic so far, from Virginia to Massachusetts. Most recently, Interior awarded two leases off the New Jersey coast for $1.9 million (E&ENews PM, Nov. 9, 2015).

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement that the new wind energy area “marks another important step in the President’s strategy to tap clean, renewable energy from the Nation’s vast wind and solar resources.”

The next step is completing an environmental assessment on potential leasing and finding which spots within the area are best for wind turbines.

“This is a great day for New York, and our country as we continue to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio,” BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement. “The area is large enough for a large-scale commercial wind project, which could make substantial contributions to the region’s energy supply and assist local and state governments — including New York City — in achieving their renewable energy goals.”

The wind energy area is about 127 square miles, or more than 81,000 acres. It is based on a 2011 proposal from the New York Power Authority to install up to 194 wind turbines, generating as much as 700 megawatts of energy for Long Island and New York City. BOEM says other parties are also interested in developing the area.