New York’s $6 billion plan for offshore wind shows that oil drilling really is on the way out

Power-generating windmill turbines are seen at the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm near Amsterdam, Netherlands September 26, 2017.

caption
Power-generating windmill turbines are seen at the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm near Amsterdam, Netherlands September 26, 2017.
source
REUTERS/Yves Herman

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan to develop 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
  • If realized, the plan could generate a $6 billion industry, power up to 1.2 million homes, and bring 5,000 jobs to the state.
  • But it’s in direct conflict with President Donald Trump’s plan to open up the Atlantic Coast to offshore oil drilling.
  • Only time will tell if renewable energy or fossil fuels will win the fight.

New York is getting serious about offshore wind.

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan earlier this month to develop $6 billion of offshore wind projects off the southern coast of Long Island by 2028 and predicted that the industry would bring 5,000 jobs to the state. The plan calls for developing 2.4 gigawatts – enough to power 1.2 million homes – by 2030.

It’s all part of New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires 50% of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources like solar and wind. The move comes as President Donald Trump earlier this month announced a five-year plan to open up areas of the East Coast to offshore drilling.

“While the federal government continues to turn its back on protecting natural resources and plots to open up our coastline to drilling, New York is doubling down on our commitment to renewable energy and the industries of tomorrow,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Cuomo has asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for an exemption from the drilling plan, saying in an open letter that the plan “undermines New York’s efforts to combat climate change by shifting from greenhouse gas emitting fossil energy sources to renewable sources, such as offshore wind.”

The plan could bring up to $400 million per year in public health benefits

The 60-page report details a plan to establish working groups to study all aspects of developing the wind farms, including how the installations will affect tourism, marine life, and migratory bird species.

The report identifies a 1 million acre site approximately 20 miles south of Long Island that would best support the wind turbines, and “ensure that, for the vast majority of the time, turbines would have no discernible or visible impact from the casual viewer on the shore.”

Wind turbine technicians is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the US.

caption
Wind turbine technicians is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the US.
source
Stephane Mahe/Reuters

As the Atlantic coast of Long Island is heavily-reliant on tourism, keeping the turbines out of sight from beachgoers and expensive waterfront property is crucial. A project to develop a 468-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts was killed last year over concerns that it would spoil views from expensive real estate on Cape Cod and Nantucket, reports Bloomberg.

The report further estimates the public health benefits of the wind plan could be up to $400 million a year, factoring in improvements to air and water quality.

New Jersey announced a similar plan last Wednesday to develop 3.5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity off its coast.

Offshore wind is one of the fastest-growing industries in the US, despite the Trump Administration’s focus on coal and fossil fuels.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2026, the sector will add 56,00 wind turbine technicians to the workforce, an increase of over 96%. And a report from MAKE, a renewable energy industry research firm, estimates that 2.3 gigawatts of offshore wind will be operational in the US by 2026 – potentially powering millions of homes.