Obama administration opens up Long Island to offshore wind development

The federal government has designated an 81,000-acre area off of Long Island for possible commercial offshore wind development.

The move by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Wednesday to open the federal waters 11 miles off of New York to major wind development projects will be a significant boost to the Cuomo administration’s aggressive climate policies. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will now conduct an environmental assessment, with a possible sale of leases to follow.

“New York has tremendous offshore wind potential, and today’s milestone marks another important step in the President’s strategy to tap clean, renewable energy from the Nation’s vast wind and solar resources,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the State and local stakeholders through a collaborative effort as we determine what places have the highest potential and lowest conflict to harness the enormous wind energy potential off the Atlantic seaboard.”

The wind currents off of Long Island make the region some of the best in the world for wind development. Offshore wind could become a major component of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to power half of the electrical grid with renewable energy by 2030. Large wind farms, both on land and offshore, will be essential if the state is able to reach its goal of doubling the current amount of renewable energy connected to the grid in just 15 years. Cuomo also helped open the region to wind development this fall when he rejected a proposed gas terminal off of Port Ambrose, in an area where wind farms could be located.

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