NYSERDA Dances with BOEM
On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA) hosted a public meeting to update attendees with information about the status of Offshore Wind. It was clear that there is currently some disagreement between NY State and the federal government regarding the best location for new offshore wind projects.
The State looked at four possible areas of the continental shelf and narrowed the field down to two of them, closer to the western side of the state. It conducted about 20 studies in areas pertaining to the commercial shipping, fishing, active telecom cables and environmental impacts and identified an Area for Consideration where there would be the fewest adverse impacts. This area can accommodate 32,000 MW of wind energy, more than enough to satisfy New York's goal of 24,000 MW by 2030 (enough to power 1.2 million home). The State submitted its recommendations to BOEM, the federal agency that auctions off the leases, hoping that it would accept this as the area for future projects.
However, in April 2018, BOEM came out with proposed New York Bight Call Areas, which include the original four areas and expand them somewhat. It has now called for comments from the public, which are due by May 29, 2018. When asked as to why NYSERDA eliminated areas C and D from consideration, they said that there would be more interference with commercial shipping and underwater cables.
BOEM was asked why they did not just accept NY State's recommendation outright. Their answer was that NYSERDA did not look at all relevant criteria, and they also want comments from other stakeholders, including the state of New Jersey, which would be sharing this area.
There many technical comments in the Q & A portion of the meeting. The NYSERDA reps encouraged everyone to send these to the Public Service Commission, which is going to be considering NYSERDA's proposed policy for achieving Phase I of it offshore wind goal by issuing RFPs for 800 MW of OSW projects in 2018 and 2019. See NYSERDA's Offshore-Wind-Policy-Options-Paper.pdf.
To sum up:
May 29th - deadline for comments to BOEM on wind auction sites
See all the info and links at: https://www.boem.gov/NY-Bight/