It would be the biggest offshore wind farm in New York State, more than 100 wind turbines starting 30 miles east of Montauk Point and about 50 miles east of Shelter Island. It’s being called Sunrise Wind.
A “cable bundle” containing two electric cables would be buried under the seabed and extend west from the turbines for 100 miles, making landfall in the parking lot at Smith Point County Park in Shirley, and buried underground there.
The cabling would then run for 17 miles, all underground, along William Floyd Parkway and, remaining underground, along other roads and then the Long Island Expressway, reaching the Long Island Power Authority substation just north of the LIE in Holtsville.
Sunrise Wind would generate 880 megawatts of electricity and feed into the Long Island electric grid. The 880 megawatts would provide for 500,000 homes, nearly half of LIPA’s 1.1 million customer base.
A “virtual open house” was held on the project last week. Presentations were made and questions answered by representatives of the owners of the Sunrise Wind project, Denmark-based Orsted, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms, and Eversource, a product of a merger of New England utility companies that included Northeast Utilities.
Orsted, since acquiring Deepwater Wind, owns the Block Island Wind Farm, consisting of five turbines off Block Island, the first U.S. offshore wind farm, which went operational in 2016. Orsted and Eversource together own the proposed South Fork Wind Farm that is to have 15 wind turbines placed also in the Atlantic east of Montauk Point.
The number of wind turbines in the Sunrise Wind project would depend on the size of the turbines used. If eight megawatt turbines — common in new offshore wind farms — are used, the total would be 110. If the turbines would be smaller, then there would be more than 100 to produce 880 megawatts of electricity. The project is “permitted for up to” 122 turbines, a spokesperson said.
New York State last year awarded Orsted the contract to develop Sunrise Wind after a competitive bidding process. In the online “virtual open house,” representatives said the Sunrise Wind project would be a “catalyst for clean energy.” Here are some of the other points made by the representatives:
It would be a key to the “transition to clean energy” in New York State and the goal of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state to have “100 percent clean energy by 2040.”
The turbines would be barely visible from any shore. There would be no harmful emissions and Sunrise Wind would displace 2.1 million metric tons of carbon pollution every year.
The cost to the average ratepayer on Long Island would be “less than $1 per month” extra on her or his electric bill. Construction work could begin as early as 2023 — after all necessary permits are obtained — and completed in 2024. There’d be a “host community benefit agreement” through which Orsted and Eversource would provide funds. Suffolk County Community College would become the training center in Suffolk County for offshore wind technology.
It would be the “academic arm of the initiative.” Port Jefferson would become a hub for activities. Workers on the Sunrise Wind project would live in two-week shifts on a “service operational vessel.”
Orsted “brings unparalleled expertise” to the project with its 26 “successful offshore wind farms” and “1,500 turbines worldwide,” the company said.
Cables would be buried the entire length of the route. All the construction areas would be fully restored. There would be “minimal environmental impact,” it was said.
Orsted and Eversource welcome “stakeholder suggestions.” A slogan of “we listen, we learn, we adjust” was displayed. “We are totally committed to protect the environment … and work with commercial and recreational fishing interests.”
As to why the South Fork Wind Farm and the Sunrise Wind project would have different landing points, the explanation was that the South Fork project would be sending DC electricity to Long Island and Sunrise sending AC. Also, there would be a difference in the voltage sent.
Offshore wind farms are able to harvest more wind power than onshore wind projects, said the representatives. Wind isn’t blocked and turbines can be larger, it was explained.
They said Sunrise Wind would be a “game-changer,” the “first of many” similar “large-scale” U.S. offshore wind projects. Also, offshore wind is an excellent “complement” to the other major source of clean electricity — solar power.