View Full Version : Plan to Harvest Wind Power Off Jones Beach

May 2nd, 2004, 06:46 AM
May 2, 2004

Agency Plans to Harvest Wind Power Off Jones Beach



Imagine a modern windmill, sleek and metallic.

Make it giant-sized - specifically 425 feet tall, equal to a 40-story building and taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Now picture 35 to 40 such windmills, all standing in the Atlantic Ocean, clustered near Jones Beach.

The Long Island Power Authority says it will soon start turning that imaginary scene into reality, to harvest electricity from the steady sea breezes that have drawn people, from the ancient Indians to modern suburbanites, to the shoreline.

The authority says that in the coming weeks it will announce its choice of the company to build and operate the windmills. Officials will not identify the bidders, but industry sources say the two leading contenders are Arcadia Windpower Ltd., based in Manhattan, and FPL Energy, based in Florida. The project could produce the first offshore windmills outside of Europe, wind power experts say. While land-based windmills are increasingly common around the world, offshore sites are relatively new.

A larger proposal for 130 offshore windmills is pending on Cape Cod, but residents have mounted a $1 million campaign to block it, citing economic, environmental and scenic concerns. Some Long Islanders have raised similar objections, but so far there is little organized opposition.

The Long Island project would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take up to four years, authority officials say. The exact price and other details will be announced later. "At a time when oil prices are going through the roof, this makes imminent sense," said the agency's chairman, Richard M. Kessel.

Those rising prices forced the authority to impose fuel surcharges on electricity customers. Growing demand for power is also forcing the purchase of new generators and supply cables, so the authority is facing greater expense and more disputes over sites. And Gov. George E. Pataki is requiring the use of more clean energy, though it costs more than power from fossil fuels in the current market.

The windmills would represent only about 2 percent of the authority's total power use, and so would have a minimal impact on electricity bills.

Many environmentalists, including some who criticize the authority on other issues, have long advocated windmills. "Windmills are a necessity, not only for Long Island, but for the state and nation," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, one of several groups endorsing the project.

Windmills use a limitless resource without harming the environment, supporters say. Wind energy also reduces dependence on Middle East oil with its gyrating prices and volatile politics. "The fuel is free from Mother Nature, and the cost is predictable," said Gordian Raacke, executive director of two energy groups, the Citizens Advisory Panel and Renewable Energy Long Island.

Still, the plan poses a host of concerns. Skeptics cite noise and vibration, dangers to migrating birds, disruption of prime squid fishing, and intrusive underwater cables and power connections on land.

Most of all, critics have focused on the permanent alteration of the ocean view from the South Shore.

But authority officials said the impact would be minimal on birds, fish and even the view. Because the windmills would be 2.5 to 6 miles from shore, they would appear small on the horizon, proponents contend.

While the precise location has not been decided, the windmills would be somewhere off the coast of Jones Beach and possibly Long Beach or the western end of Fire Island.

Jones Beach is jammed on hot summer weekends. Long Beach and neighboring communities are the most densely populated stretches of oceanfront in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Fire Island has a major park and summer resort.

"Why Jones Beach rather than anywhere else on the South Shore?" said Joseph M. Kralovich, president of the Old Lindenmere Civic Association in Merrick. "It's a sore subject, but the answer is obvious. It's to avoid people with expensive waterfront homes. Nobody lives there." He opposes the windmill plan. "I moved here from the city because of Jones Beach, to get closer."

Another critic, Cathy McGrory Powell of Wantagh, said: "Jones Beach is a big tourist center. It's going to be horrible. Why, instead, isn't every government building using solar energy and every official driving a more fuel-efficient car?"

The power authority says it chose the site because the water is shallow, the winds average about 19 miles an hour, and an existing substation in nearby Massapequa would connect to the windmills, serving densely developed Nassau and western Suffolk.

Windmill defenders call the view a minor issue. "We have to make a choice: whether we want to look at smokestacks or windmills," said Mr. Raacke, of Renewable Energy Long Island. "It's worth paying that small price." He said he had found no opposition to offshore windmills in Europe, adding, "People are quite proud of them, actually."

Ms. Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said windmills would become a tourist attraction, as they have elsewhere. "If acid rain and smog keep up, we're not going to have a view, anyway."

Last month, Hofstra University, whose campus displays a miniature windmill in tribute to Nassau County's Dutch heritage, held a conference titled "From Blackouts to Windmills." Richard V. Guardino Jr., dean of suburban studies and a resident of Point Lookout, near Jones Beach, said, "Personally, I like the way windmills look, and I think they would add something."

As a sun worshiper, the authority's chairman, Mr. Kessel, said: "No one loves Jones Beach or goes there more often than I do. A passing tanker ship is going to be a lot more visible than these windmills that you can barely see. It'll be a comforting sight, dedicated to a cleaner environment for Long Island."

Some fishing companies, though, are opposed. "Some of our largest catches are right there in the area they're talking about," said Sima Freierman, general manager of Montauk Inlet Seafood, which unloads, packs and transports fish. "There's enough places on land where they can do this."

Ms. Freierman said more than two million pounds of squid were netted by trawlers from New York in the planned windmill site each summer, as well as catches by boats from other states. The site also yields millions of pounds of bluefish, butterfish, flounder, fluke, monk and whiting. For boats, "putting windmills there is like putting concrete poles in the middle of the Long Island Expressway," she said.

But proponents of windmills say they will use only about five square miles, a small part of the fishing grounds. Windmills could act as an artificial reef and a preserve that would help replenish fish stocks, said Prof. Malcolm J. Bowman of the marine science center at Stony Brook University. Many recreational fishers are keen on the windmills, which they say will attract fish.

Before the windmills are built, more public hearings will be held, and 18 official approvals are required from various state and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, which will require blinking warning lights.

Each steel tower will rise 425 feet from the ocean surface to the top of the arc swept by the three rotating resin blades. Depending on the location, 40 to 70 feet of the tower will be underwater. The base will go an additional 60 to 80 feet underground into the seabed. The towers will be 15 to 30 feet thick at water level and placed a third of a mile to half a mile apart, according to the authority's project manager, Daniel Zaweski. The blades will rotate 8 to 20 times a minute, swiveling and tilting to catch the wind, and generate 3.6 megawatts of power. The entire group will generate 100 to 140 megawatts, enough for 30,000 homes.

The critics' biggest fear seems to be that if the windmills succeed, more will go up. "If this works, they're talking about stringing this along the entire South Shore, putting us out of business," Ms. Freierman said.

Mr. Kralovich expressed a similar fear: "Once they put this in, wind farms are going to go in, up and down the East Coast. In 30 years, it's going to look like the Jersey Turnpike."

But Mr. Kessel is taking a shorter view. "We want to take this one step at a time," he said. "It's a project that's never been done before in North America, and we want the public to see it and give acceptance, which I think they will, before we even look at expansion."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company



Wind Power Gains Force in New York State (http://www.metropolismag.com/html/sustainable/case/WindPowerGainsForce.html)

May 3rd, 2004, 01:23 PM
Sounds like a great idea, but they are having problems like this anywhere they THINK that it might "ruin the view".

And Squid farmers? Like anyone in their right mind is going to try to argue eco-friendly wind power over SQUID FARMING??!?!

These complainers really do not know what the hell they are complaining about sometimes, you know?

May 3rd, 2004, 04:10 PM
I'm all for the windmills, but I wonder how they can withstand the occasional Nor'Easter or a storm surge from southern hurricane.

May 11th, 2004, 01:42 AM
Probably not too good :lol:

May 27th, 2004, 01:43 AM
May 27, 2004

39 Ocean Windmills Are Planned to Expand Power on L.I.


UNIONDALE, N.Y., May 26 - Facing ever-rising demands for electricity, the Long Island Power Authority is embarking on an unorthodox plan to expand its supply by one-fifth - 39 towering windmills in the Atlantic Ocean, an underwater cable to New Jersey likened to a huge extension cord - and more commonplace power plants.

Private companies would build and own the projects, including the island's first new major power plant in a quarter of a century, supplying about 1,000 megawatts of electricity to the state-run power authority as a guaranteed customer. The windmills could be in place by 2008.

"Our goal is to the keep the lights on for Long Island," the authority's president and chairman, Richard M. Kessel, said at a news conference here Wednesday morning. That night the authority's board was given plans to approve for two small generating plants scheduled to open by the summer of 2005. Other projects will be phased in over several years.

Energy demand is growing fast as people expand their homes, buy big-screen televisions, add computers and cable boxes and turn up their air-conditioners, Mr. Kessel said. Despite a stable population, power use is rising at 100-plus megawatts a year, with residential consumption up 15 percent in the last five years.

"We've kept pace with demand" so far, Mr. Kessel said. But he added that the authority desperately needs more power. It now has a capacity of 5,000 megawatts for the nearly three million people it serves in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Rockaways in Queens.

Though the projects will cost more than half a billion dollars, "the overall impact on ratepayers will be negligible, maybe a percent or two," Mr. Kessel said.

In fact, the plan will avoid even higher energy costs in the future, the authority said. Access to cheaper electricity from the mainland via the cable to New Jersey, for example, is estimated to save $1.1 billion over several years.

"We want not a Gilligan's Island but a Long Island connected to the rest of the world," Mr. Kessel said. The cable will provide cheaper electricity, including power from nuclear and coal-fired generators, from what he called an "energy corridor" in a growing power grid stretching across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and West Virginia.

Long Island is largely cut off from such power because it is surrounded by water and has limited connections through New York City.

Recently the power authority was frustrated when a new power cable across Long Island Sound to Connecticut was shut off because of opposition from Connecticut state officials who say it poses environmental hazards. New York officials are fighting to turn the cable back on.

No such hurdles are expected on the cable to New Jersey, where state officials support that project and the permit applications are nearing approval, Mr. Kessel said.

The most striking project is the offshore windmills. Though such projects exist in Europe, no offshore windmills have ever been built in the Americas.

The planned windmills will rise about 425 feet above sea level - equal to a 40-story building and higher than the Statue of Liberty's torch. They will be grouped about three miles south of Fire Island where it overlaps with Jones Beach, near Gilgo and Robert Moses State Parks. The total output would be 140 megawatts.

To build that project, the authority's review panel named FPL Energy, the nation's leading developer of land-based windmills, as the winning bidder.

The underwater cable to New Jersey would extend 67 miles from Sayreville, N.J., to Wantagh, N.Y., and run up the Wantagh Parkway to a converter station to be built at a Transportation Department yard.

For that project, the bidding review panel picked Neptune RTS of Pittsfield, Me. The project is planned for completion in 2007.

The new major power plant, a 326-megawatt generator, will be built on 92 acres of industrial land in Bellport on the south shore of Suffolk. The chosen bidder is Caithness of New York City.

Bids for two smaller plants, each producing just under 80 megawatts, were also recommended. Calpine was chosen to build a plant in Bethpage, and Pinelawn Power was picked for one in Babylon. They will be the first on the island with cogeneration, in which the main turbine's exhaust drives a second turbine.

"There are going to be critics of all these projects - not in my backyard," Mr. Kessel said, adding that hearings would be held.

Some people have objected that the windmills will protrude into the skyline at the beach. But environmental and civic groups have endorsed the windmills, and an array of local public officials is supporting the other projects as well, Mr. Kessel said, so he does not foresee strong opposition.

Six bids were also approved for conservation programs, like saving energy in apartment buildings and supermarkets. Those companies are Aspen Systems, Custom Energy, Ameresco, CSG Services, Honeywell and Johnson Controls.

Electrical power has a stormy history on Long Island. The old Long Island Lighting Company charged the highest electricity rates in the continental United States, partly because it spent $5 billion on the nuclear plant at Shoreham, which drew opposition from environmentalists and never went into service.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

February 8th, 2005, 11:04 PM
February 9, 2005

From Upstate Windmills to Brooklyn Industry, a Surge in Power


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/t.gifwo enormous industrial complexes in Brooklyn have begun receiving some of their energy from power generated by 20 windmills near Syracuse, city officials said, under the largest wind power purchase by the city so far.

Under the agreement, set to be announced today, the city's Economic Development Corporation is purchasing 3.7 million kilowatt-hours of wind power from ConEdison Solutions, a subsidiary of the conventional-electric company. The energy, roughly what is needed to power about 900 city residences for a year, will be used to meet 12 percent of the annual power needs for Bush Terminal and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, manufacturing and office centers that total five million square feet, the officials said.

"Every kilowatt-hour of green, renewable power used in the city proportionally reduces the need for generating energy by power plants using fossil fuels, thereby reducing air pollution," said Gil C. Quiniones, senior vice president of energy and telecommunications at the Economic Development Corporation.

The reduction in power plant emissions as a result of the Brooklyn energy purchase would be the equivalent of reducing automobile usage by about 3.5 million miles a year, said Philip Herman, managing director of business development at ConEdison Solutions.

Historically, the city has bought renewable energy in the form of hydroelectric power, Mr. Quiniones said. And as the city continues to look for ways to reduce its dependence on traditional power plants, it is also pursuing other energy alternatives, including the use of fuel cells in water pollution control plants. In addition, it plans to install solar panels this year at the Bronx High School of Science and the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

But as the cost of wind energy in New York State has decreased over the last few years, Mr. Quiniones said, it has become among the most promising of the new technologies.

"We're hoping that we are able to lead by example" to encourage more businesses and institutions to turn to renewable energy sources like wind, he said. Towns and cities around the region have been considering buying wind-generated power or bringing in wind turbines, and real estate developers have increasingly been looking to build so-called green complexes.

"The more people that buy renewable energy, there's economies of scale," Mr. Quiniones said, "and hopefully that will spur innovation."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)