Earlier this year, New York State reached a contract agreement with developers for a landmark wind energy expansion. Construction will soon begin on two wind farms off the shore of Long Island, with a projected operation date in 2024. Offshore wind is critical to achieving the clean energy goals set by the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act, passed earlier this year, requires the state’s energy grid to be 100% clean power by 2040. The offshore wind farms approved this year are expected to produce 1,700 megawatts of electricity, enough to make New York the largest source of offshore wind power in the country. Together, they will create enough energy to power over 1 million homes, create 1,600 jobs, and generate $3.2 billion in economic activity.
Wind energy isn’t only important for New York to meet its renewable energy goals, it is also gaining momentum worldwide. The Global Wind Energy Council reported that from 2011 to 2017, offshore wind capacity across the world quadrupled. Further, a recent analysis by the International Energy Agency reported that global electricity demand could be easily met if wind farms were built on all sites that meet requirements worldwide. Offshore wind energy is becoming more cost-efficient as its market value is exceeding its costs. Wind power has the potential to generate 36,000 terawatt-hours, 13,000 terawatt-hours more than the current global demand. This is a fast-growing market, with huge promise.
Wind energy also positively impacts the economy. In 2016, the American Wind Energy Association reported that in the past decade wind farm projects have added a total of $128 billion to the U.S. economy. Further investments in wind energy are key in helping the U.S. become a competitor in the global clean energy economy, which is currently dominated by Europe.
More wind power is on its way to other parts of the country. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, there are 15 active proposals for offshore wind farms along the east coast, with others planned for Hawaii, South Carolina, and California.
There is potential for much more offshore wind capacity to be built off New York’s coast, eventually supplying clean power for a significant amount of the downstate region’s electricity needs.
Investing in wind power presents a wide range of advantages for New York and the nation. By 2050, wind energy in the U.S. is expected to avoid emittance of 12.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases, create more than 600,000 jobs, and save consumers $280 billion in electric utility costs.
Wind energy development will be critical in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and fighting climate change. Wind provides stable, safe, and zero-emission energy. That’s why NYLCV supports New York’s investment in this sustainable source of green power.