Governor Cuomo’s recently published Offshore Wind Master Plan, for the first time in our nation’s history, puts the financial and political power of a state behind creating sustainable energy infrastructure. This plan, when implemented, would combat climate change and create jobs while bolstering New York State port infrastructure. The Governor said: “While the federal government continues to turn its back on protecting natural resources and plots to open up our coastline to drilling, New York is doubling down on our commitment to renewable energy and the industries of tomorrow.” The plan provides necessary steps towards 2.4 Gigawatt production by 2030, with 800 megawatts by 2020. In combination with solar farms inland, New York State can have 50% of its electricity come from sustainable sources by 2030 and power 1.2 million homes in the process.
The fact that this is the first state plan, in 2018, indicates just how far behind the U.S. is in the offshore wind energy field, but also provides hope for the future. In the U.S., Deepwater Wind created the first set of offshore wind turbines in 2016 with a production level of 30 MW. With further developments promised off the southeast end of Long Island and in the waters that intersect Long Island, Rhode Island and the Massachusetts area, the industry is growing, albeit slowly, in the east coast area. Meanwhile, Europe and the UK currently produce 12.6 GW of offshore wind energy in operation, with plans to nearly double that capacity already in motion. China, too, has set its first step in the race, with 1.6 GW of capacity in 2016. But there is reason for optimism: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has leased 1.4 million for offshore wind energy, with 2 million more in the pipeline. This good news, in addition to the creation of NY state’s plan, and its incoming implementation, suggests the U.S. is on its way to utilizing its nearly 2,000 GW of potential offshore wind energy for the benefit of public health and the economy.
The plan has received acclaim from various stakeholders in the environmental, construction and wildlife maintenance industries . With so much agreement in place already, we expect the plan to become a concrete set of actions. Based on the “social cost of carbon,” offshore wind will save the NY economy approximately 1.9 billion dollars, reduce pollution in NY metropolitan area, use fewer fossil fuels, and provide annual health benefits valued between 73 and 165 million by 2030. The only way to get started on the path to 40% carbon footprint reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2050 is to take action. NYLCV expects the state and relevant stakeholders to cooperate and do just that. The potential use of offshore energy, and quite literally the safety of our shores with inclement weather and disasters on the rise in recent years, is at stake.