Clean Energy Booming in Long Island

Long Island has been a leader for the State and the Northeast in regards to clean energy. The region is acting on their potential to meet 400 MW of renewable energy production, the biggest contributions coming from solar and projected offshore wind farms.

In mid-September, NYSERDA released their Offshore Wind Master Plan Blueprint, helping to align Long Island’s clean energy goals under the State’s Offshore Wind Blueprint. Pending the release and approval of the blueprint, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) have already begun negotiating contracts with potential project developers in the region.

In South Fork alone, the growth in demand ranges from the current level of 8 MW, up to 169 MW by 2030 without the construction of the offshore wind farms. Under LIPA, the Applied Energy Group (AEG)  has been tapped to assist in meeting the energy needs throughout Long Island through 2030. They will work to incorporate load reductions through upgrades and enhancements to the grid, including energy storage, as well as deepwater offshore wind, which is projected to provide 90 MW to East Hampton by 2022. The proposed plans provide the maximum amount of energy production, with marginal, if any, cost to the consumer (current cost projections are around $1.50/month).

To continue the growth of offshore wind farms, NYSERDA is conducting and funding studies that map wildlife patterns, as well as weather patterns, ranging from 3 to 200 miles offshore, which is the allowable distance for land-leasing as per the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Currently, under NYSERDA’s studies, there is a specific 81,000 acre area up for bid this year, which, if won, will begin the construction phase of an offshore wind farm for Long Island. NYSERDA is pushing to acquire additional wind-energy areas and keep the the cost down to the public, all while addressing the concerns about the health of marine wildlife that have been raised by The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association.

Looking to solar, Long Island is leading the state with a 320% increase in residential solar since 2012, accounting for a reduction of over 200,000 tons of carbon emissions every year. Aiding in this growth are additional resources allocated from NYSERDA, allowing for incentives for those installing solar ranging from 50 kW to 200 kW, with a partnership aiding in the installation of the solar technologies to meet to Governor’s $1 billion NY Sun Initiative.

In addition to residential clean energy, new partnerships have been made under the Energize NY program, with Suffolk County as the largest municipality in NY State offering low-interest loans and incentives to businesses and not-for-profits to fund clean energy technology installation and implementation. Energize NY seeks to make clean energy affordable and eliminate high up-front costs and high rate private loans. Businesses and not-for-profits are able to borrow 10% of their property value, with loan payments being made through their property tax bills, or “property-assessed clean energy financing” (PACE). Not only will this program increase the number of green energy projects, which range from solar, to geothermal, to fuel conversion, and more; but there is the potential for an increase in green jobs, and a stronger green economy throughout the existing green companies in Long Island and the surrounding regions.

Long Island’s success in implementing clean energy programs set a prime example for New York State by spurring local economic growth, green jobs, cost and energy savings, and reducing carbon emissions to the environment.