New York is Building the Largest Offshore Wind Farm in the United States

The London Array is a 175 turbine 630MW wind farm located in the United Kingdom. It works very well.


The Inertia

New York just did something great. Just off the coast of Long Island, they’ve decided to build the largest offshore wind farm in the entire United States. On January 25, the Long Island Power Authority approved the South Fork Wind Farm, taking a huge step towards a cleaner future.

According to a study done by Pew Research, about 65% of Americans want alternative energy sources to take top billing in the nation’s priorities. Not to beat a dead horse, here, but that tired old rhetoric of “if you hate fossil fuels, stop driving/flying/surfing/living/etc” doesn’t apply. No one (in their right mind, at least) is asking for a cold turkey stop of the entire fossil fuel industry. What would be nice to see, though, is a little more push towards cleaner energy. A little more foresight to a future that’s not so chokingly bleak. Although it’s clear that many of us disagree about the whole climate change debate, I think most of us can agree that pollution is bad, smog is gross, and cleanliness is next to godliness, in a very loose sense.

Back to the wind farm. Andrew Cuomo, big apple governor, announced the plans early this month. They’re big plans, too. Like Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”

According to reports, the South Fork Wind Farm will be done by 2030, but could be up and running by 2022. If all goes well, it will generate enough power 50,000 homes in Long Island, or about 2.4 gigawatts. “This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday.

The scale of the operation that Deepwater Wind has planned is hard to wrap your head around. Each of the 15 turbines will be 600 feet tall and sit 30 miles off the coast of Montauk. While South Fork will be the largest offshore wind farm in the US, it’s not the first… and it certainly won’t be the last. The first was the 30-megawatt project in Rhode Island, which has five turbines and opened its doors just a few months ago. It provides enough power for nearly 20,000 homes. Since the wind farm will sit far from the coast, it won’t be visible from land. Even if it was, though, wind farms are infinitely less disturbing to look at than oil rigs.

With any luck, wind power will be a big part of our future. “There is a huge clean energy resource blowing off of our coastline just over the horizon,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said. “It is time to tap into this unlimited resource to power our communities.”

Interestingly enough, the US Department of Energy released a report that has alternative energy sources becoming not so alternative. “Solar employs more people than oil, coal, and gas combined in the Electric Power Generation sector,” wrote Katy Evans for IFLScience. “Wind power makes up the third-largest workforce within the sector.”