A Boost for Renewable Energy

Photo of Robert Freudenberg

Prospects for renewable energy got a big boost this week as Long Island’s main grid operator LIPA sealed a deal to buy power from a future wind farm off Long Island’s east end. The wind farm could provide as much as 90 megawatts of energy to South Fork communities, enough to power up to 50,000 homes.

The planned wind farm, which is expected to be built by 2022, would be only the second offshore farm in the U.S. and the first to supply energy to the metropolitan region. It comes as the New York region grapples with how to significantly increase its supply of renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro. New York City has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set a goal to ensure 50% of New York's energy is supplied from renewable sources by 2030.

While this week’s deal is a big first step, we’ll ultimately need many more deals like it to meet the region’s energy needs while reducing emissions. In the meantime, there are two issues to keep in mind as the project develops and permits are granted. First, it’s important that lower-income residents don’t face significant rate increases as a result of the deal. Second, the project ultimately will ultimately require onshore land use decisions such as routing of cables and the siting of related battery storage facilities. These decisions should be planned in close collaboration with the communities where they will be located, to ensure they are implemented in ways that best reflect community interest and character.