The Long Island–New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative, consisting of Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison), the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has taken the next step to advance the offshore wind project by filing a lease application with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

This application furthers Governor Cuomo’s clean energy agenda. Earlier this year, the Governor announced the latest awards under New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard program, providing contracts valued at $191 million to 17 renewable energy projects statewide. It is expected that approximately $1.85 billion will be awarded to additional renewable energy projects over the next four years to meet the state's goal to meet 30 percent of the state's electricity demand with renewable resources by 2015.

The Collaborative also issued a study showing that the proposed wind farm of up to 350 MW, potentially growing to 700 MW, that is to be located 13 to 17 miles off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula and Long Island, could create up to $2.7 billion in new economic activity, including 2,300 to 4,700 jobs during construction and 85 to 170 permanent jobs, depending on project size.

Since 2009, the Collaborative has undertaken visualization simulations, completed an interconnection feasibility study and issued a Request For Information (RFI) where over 30 wind developers and technical firms responded indicating a substantial interest in developing what could be the largest offshore wind farm in the country. While additional information and studies are still needed, including a comprehensive review pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), preliminary studies by the Collaborative and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) have indicated that the project can be economically productive, environmentally responsible, and technically feasible.

Based on the positive results thus far, NYPA, on behalf of the Collaborative, has initiated the process to obtain a lease by submitting a preliminary lease application with BOEMRE, formerly known as the United States Minerals Management Service, for development rights on the proposed site, 13 to 17 miles off the coast on the ocean floor. Letters of support for the lease application are included in the application and were received from Consolidated Edison, Inc.; Long Island Power Authority; numerous Environmental Groups (Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Advocates of New York, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York League of Conservation Voters, Pace Energy and Climate Center, and Renewable Energy Long Island); New York City Mayor’s Office; New York State Governor’s Office; and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

BOEMRE, per federal rules and regulations, will assess the qualifications of the preliminary application, during which time the Collaborative may be required to provide additional information. Once BOEMRE determines the application qualified, it will begin the federal lease acquisition process.

The federal lease acquisition process will also initiate the required NEPA review process and include numerous opportunities for public review and input. Contingent on multiple factors regarding the viability of the proposed site, findings from the NEPA review, more detailed offshore wind and geological assessments, environmental impacts, and economic viability, the Collaborative intends to conduct a competitive solicitation to select one or more private entities to develop the project.

By applying to secure the lease, the Collaborative intends to streamline the process for developers seeking to build the wind farm, and reduce unknown variables that will be addressed and become clearer through the lease review process, including potential grants and subsidies, size and location of the turbines, underwater terrain, environmental impacts, and ocean depths.