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Offshore wind energy looks for Long Island ports

KARL GROSSMAN PHOTO Environmentalists and public officials in Suffolk County would rather see wind farm development, above, than oil drilling off the Atlantic shores.

KARL GROSSMAN PHOTO Environmentalists and public officials in Suffolk County would rather see wind farm development, above, than oil drilling off the Atlantic shores.

By 2030, New York State aims to be capable of producing 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy — and create nearly 5,000 related jobs.

The New York State Department of Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) completed an offshore wind energy master plan in January.

It included 20 different studies, including a port facility and infrastructure assessment that examined 65 port facilities across the state that have the capability to either accommodate manufacturing or store components for an offshore wind project. The wind farm itself would be located in the Atlantic Ocean, which is considered federal waters.

“Offshore wind development is certainly a complex undertaking,” said Doreen Harris, director of large-scale renewables at NYSERDA. “I would say there are a lot different things to think about in order to ensure offshore wind is developed responsibly for New Yorkers, whether they be environmental, infrastructure needs or costs.”

The study looked at port facilities along New York Harbor, the Hudson River and the coast of Long Island, including Port Jefferson, Shoreham Inlet and, on the East End, Orient Point, Sag Harbor and Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton.

Port facilities and wind farms in general, could add up to 5,000 long-term jobs to the Long Island area if the investment is made.

“There is a real opportunity for Long Island,” Ms. Harris said. “We see a real value from the perspective of jobs and other investments on Long Island. We think a good number [of port facilities] have a real possibility of occurring on Long Island.”

The plan aims to power nearly 1.2 million homes across the state by 2030, according to the master plan. A project already underway, the South Fork Wind Farm, is set to generate 90 megawatts of renewable energy by 2022.

Each area may serve as a different section of the supply chain for offshore energy, meaning some are better suited for ongoing operations and maintenance, others for staging or storing and still others for manufacturing. Ms. Harris said Orient Point, Three Mile Harbor and Sag Harbor locations are well suited for operations and maintenance.

“The purpose of our study was to match facilities with private developers,” Ms. Harris said.

There are environmental factors to consider as well, but the environmental non-profit Group for the East End seems open to the idea of renewable energy. The group’s president Robert DeLuca said it is in favor of having the wind farms as far offshore as possible and beyond the horizon.

“For things like bird migration, the farther out to sea you are, the better off you are in respect to not interfering with migratory pathways,” he said.

The group will perform more in-depth studies in the future to study the effects of the actual construction of the wind turbines, Mr. DeLuca added.

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