LIPA Deepwater offshore wind decision delayed

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Long Island Power Authority has postponed a meeting of its trustees at which an offshore wind project was expected to be up for approval, after a state energy agency asked for delay to align the process with the expected release of new state energy policy documents.

Long Island Power Authority, or LIPA, is a municipal subdivision of the State of New York. It owns the retail electric transmission and distribution system (T&D) on Long Island, and oversees electric service provided by PSEG Long Island over those assets.

In 2015, PSEG Long Island issued a request for proposals for local resources to serve the South Fork areas of Long Island.  In response, offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind has proposed to supply capacity and renewable energy from the 90 megawatt, 15-turbine Deepwater ONE – South Fork offshore wind project, along with 15 megawatts of onshore lithium ion battery storage.

The Deepwater ONE - South Fork project would be developed in federal waters over the outer continental shelf; in July 2013, Deepwater won the rights to lease sites through the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's first-ever competitive lease auction for offshore wind.  Project power would be delivered to LIPA’s existing substation in East Hampton, so the proposal could serve growing load on the South Fork without adding new transmission lines or fossil power plants.

As reported by the East Hampton Star earlier this month, LIPA has formally recommended to its board that it approve Deepwater's proposal.

But on July 19, 2016, LIPA issued a media advisory that its board meeting scheduled for the next day would be postponed.  The press release stated that LIPA
received a request late this evening by its partner agency NYSERDA (New York State Energy and Research Development Authority) to postpone tomorrow’s consideration of an off-shore wind farm to align the proposed Long Island project with the State’s off-shore wind master plan and the State’s Clean Energy Standard, both of which are scheduled to be released in the next several weeks.
NYSERDA is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to "Advance innovative energy solutions in ways that improve New York's economy and environment."

Governor Cuomo announced the creation of an Offshore Wind Master Plan in his 2016 State of the State address.  It followed his December 2, 2015 decision to direct the state Department of Public Service to design an enact a Clean Energy Standard mandating that 50 percent of all electricity consumed in New York in 2030 come from renewable sources.  Both the offshore wind master plan and the Clean Energy Standard remain under development by the administration.

In light of NYSERDA's request, LIPA postponed its July 20 board meeting.  LIPA's statement states an expectation "to reschedule the meeting after the release of the NYSERDA off-shore wind blueprint."  It closes with a reassurance that, "LIPA remains committed to its renewable energy goals and meeting the energy needs of the South Fork."  Meanwhile, for now Deepwater's proposal remains pending.

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