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Barrett plant in Island Park key to offshore wind farm

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In his Jan. 13 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a $26 billion green-energy plan to increase solar and wind projects, including two offshore wind farms, one of which is slated to connect to the E.F. Barrett Generation Station in Island Park.

Cuomo’s plan includes two large offshore wind farms, with a total of more than 90 turbines, off Long Island’s coast. One will be roughly 20 miles south of Jones Beach and the other more than 60 miles east of Montauk Point; neither will be visible from shore.

The Island Park plant will serve as an interconnection point for a new, 2,500-megawatt offshore wind farm. The transmission cable connecting the wind farm and the plant will run through Jones Beach, while the cable connecting the turbines off Montauk with Astoria, Queens, will run 200 miles under the Long Island Sound, the governor said.

“This is the largest production of renewable energy by any state in United States history,” Cuomo said.

With the state facing a $15 billion deficit, funding of offshore wind projects will mostly come from private industry, he said, adding that he would outline financial plans in a budget address later this month.

Offshore and land-based wind projects will reduce carbon emissions by almost 16 million metric tons per year, Cuomo said, noting that there would be nearly $26 billion in direct investment and more than 17,000 jobs created.

“This will help stimulate the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” Cuomo said, “while leading the way to the new green-energy economy.”

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty both lauded the plan. In July 2019, the two sought to have the Barrett plant repurposed for wind energy. Their push came after Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which included connecting the Empire Wind Project, an offshore wind farm, to Con-Edison’s Gowanus Substation in Queens. The state tapped Equinor Wind to build and operate the clean-energy facility 20 miles south of Long Island, east of the Rockaways.

At the time, Kaminsky and McGinty wrote a letter to National Grid, which owns the Island Park plant, and Equinor Wind, urging them to relocate the cable-receiving connection site of the Empire Wind Project to the Island Park station.

After Cuomo announced the latest plan to use the plant as an interconnection point, Kaminsky, who chairs the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said he was pleased that it would open up more opportunities for renewable-energy initiatives.

“This news ensures that the South Shore will be a key part of New York’s new green economy, as our state continues to lead the country in bold, renewable energy initiatives,” he said in a statement. “This will mean more jobs for our region and cleaner air. For too long, many of my constituents have had to live with the Barrett power plant’s pollution, and for the first time, there is now a commitment to those same individuals that they will benefit from a revenue-generating, green-energy source that can help power not only their homes, but their local economies too.”

McGinty said the development was a “much-needed renewable resource” for Island Park.

“This sustainable clean energy will be a hallmark, and allow our future generations to live, work and raise a family right there on Long Island,” he said in a statement.

The Barrett power plant has been a controversial site in Island Park, as the Long Island Power Authority continues to seek a tax reduction on the property, which residents, school officials and local elected leaders have protested.

Cuomo said his energy plan would help boost New York’s post-Covid-19-pandemic economy, and it also includes building the nation’s first offshore wind tower manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany, which is expected to create 500 construction jobs and employ 300 full-time employees.

Cuomo’s plan includes 100 projects, 68 of which are already in the works, and they include 52 solar projects, 13 on-shore and three offshore wind projects.