Long Island Power Authority President and CEO Kevin S. Law and Consolidated Edison Chairman and CEO Kevin Burke have announced that their public-private partnership is moving forward with plans for a new phase of study on a major offshore wind farm.

A joint feasibility study released by the two utilities concluded that an interconnection of up to 700 MW of wind power, located at least 13 miles off the Rockaway Peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean, would be feasible with upgrades to their respective transmission systems.

The proposed “LIPA/Con Edison Offshore Wind Farm” would likely be designed for 350 MW of generation, with the ability to expand it to 700 MW, giving it the potential to be the largest offshore wind proposal in the country. The concept for the offshore wind project emanates from New York State Governor David A. Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force and is consistent with the Governor’s “45 by 15” program, which establishes the goal for the state to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by the year 2015. LIPA and Con Edison have also filed an application to interconnect the offshore wind project with the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) for up to 1400 MW by 2020, which would permit a future expansion beyond the 700 MW.

"As a state and as a nation, we must find alternative solutions to traditional fossil fuel sources. By taking advantage of the natural resources that New York has to offer, we will position ourselves to be the national leader in renewable and alternative energy as our economy emerges from the current crisis," said Governor David A. Paterson. "LIPA and Con Edison have partnered to take a lead role in wind power, successfully completing the first phase of this joint partnership with their study of the technical aspects of connecting off-shore wind energy to the state’s electricity system."

“I am strongly encouraged by the preliminary analysis which demonstrates a large offshore wind project can work in our service territory,” said LIPA President and CEO Kevin S. Law. “As a member of Governor Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force, I remain committed to not only continue with the next phase of the process, but also to bring this wind project to fruition if we can make it cost effective for our customers.”

“We are committed to helping the state meet its renewable energy goals, while continuing to support efforts that provide a clean environment for our customers,” said Con Edison Chairman and CEO Kevin Burke. “An offshore wind farm would be an exciting project for New York, and we will work closely with federal, state and municipal leaders to move this process along in a responsible way.”

The formation of the Con Edison and LIPA interdisciplinary working group was announced by the Governor last fall with a goal of studying, among other things, suitable locations for an offshore wind project, transmission and interconnection capabilities, and the availability of wind as an energy source. The information gathered was used to provide a better understanding of the opportunities for such a project and, if feasible, the development of jointly issued request for proposals whereby both utilities could share the cost of the project, as well as the power it generates.

As the second phase begins for the wind project, LIPA and Con Edison will work with the state, the New York Power Authority, New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority to issue a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for off-shore wind development. The RFEI serves as a precursor to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be issued later this year. It is anticipated that other interested state and city agencies will be invited to participate in the project’s next phase and/or the RFP process.

Additional next steps include:

  • creation of a joint LIPA/Con Edison Web site to keep the wind industry, communities and stakeholders informed of the project’s progress; and
  • working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop a Meteorological Tower to assess wind strength in the proposed project location.

In addition, both utilities will begin another round of due diligence that will concentrate on the economics and feasibility of the actual offshore wind farm, including: determining if there is sufficient wind resources to meet the scope of the project; an avian (bird impacts) study, further environmental impacts, economic costs, community impact and the potential number of jobs the project could create.

The offshore wind-power working group marks the first regional partnership project between LIPA and Con Edison.