Governor Cuomo recently announced his 2021 agenda — aptly titled “Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew” — and included in it is an ambitious $26 billion green-energy plan to continue the restructuring of the state’s power grid by building in ever-greater amounts of renewable energy, particularly wind.
The E.F. Barrett Generation Station in Island Park, an aging, rusting hulk of a power plant, will serve as a connection point for an undersea electric cable that will extend from a large-scale wind farm 20 miles south of Jones Beach. The wind farm will not be visible from shore. It is one of two such projects proposed off Long Island’s coast — the other will be 60 miles east of Montauk.
We’re excited to see plans for offshore wind moving forward. Wind farms will not only provide massive amounts of carbon-free electricity, but will also help create thousands of high-paying construction jobs that will infuse Long Island’s economy with hundreds of millions of dollars.
Like state economies across the nation, New York’s has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, with tens of thousands of people losing their jobs. It is smart of Cuomo to focus on infrastructure improvement — particularly green infrastructure. Multi-billion-dollar projects like wind farms will boost the economy, at the same time that they will help reduce carbon emissions to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, including sea-level rise and stronger hurricanes. In fact, offshore and land-based wind projects will reduce carbon emissions by 16 million metric tons per year, while creating some 17,000 jobs. Talk about a win-win.
Offshore wind has been a long time coming in the U.S. — there is only one small, five-turbine offshore wind farm in the country, off the coast of Rhode Island. Let us hope Long Island’s offshore wind farms are finally brought to fruition in the near future. That will require all of our support.