Wind off the coast of Eastern Long Island is among the most consistent in America. Energy powered by the SOUTH FORK WIND FARM’S 15 wind turbines 35 miles off Montauk will not be seen and will provide electricity to 70,000 households.
DO WE NEED MORE POWER? Yes. We risk frequent brown outs during the peak summer season. Our energy grid cannot keep up with increasing demand. If power is not provided by wind turbines, use of dirty fossil fuels will continue to rise.
WHAT WILL THIS COST ME? The average household monthly bill will go up by only about $1.50. The good news: because wind is renewable and free, the cost will be stabilized unlike the volatile cost of fossil fuels. This is a small short term cost for a long term solution.
WILL THIS HURT OUR FISHERMEN? After listening to commercial fishermen, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made sure that wind turbines and cable will avoid Cox’s Ledge, a valuable commercial fishing area. In fact, existing wind turbines off Block Island attract marine life to them, imitating an artificial reef.
THE NATIONAL & GLOBAL CASE FOR WIND ENERGY:
Scientific evidence continues to mount as to the urgency of reducing carbon emissions before it is too late:
SPECIES EXTINCTION Due to Climate Change, one million species will face extinction and humans will suffer as a result unless action is taken. (United Nations report). The Audubon Society supports the use of wind power and reports the greatest threat to birdlife is Global Climate Change.
THE WORLD’S FISHERIES are undergoing tremendous stress as the marine environment is altered by Climate Change. 93% of global warming heat is absorbed into our oceans, dramatically reducing marine life. Acidification of our surface waters is spelling extinction for some fish and shellfish. Eel grass forms the base of a highly productive marine food web. (NOAA). Locally, our commercial fisheries that depend on eel grass for spawning and protection, are threatened.
RISING SEA LEVELS Caused by melting polar ice sheets, threaten coastal communities around the world — including our own.
VIOLENT WEATHER EVENTS Climate Change is producing stronger storms and more intense hurricanes that are wreaking havoc on communities with high public and personal costs, including loss of life. Our towns are on the front line.
PUBLIC HEALTH Warmer winters are dramatically increasing infectious disease-carrying insects as they migrate north due to higher temperatures, causing untold costs and hardship. Locally, the rise in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is alarming.
Our electricity currently comes from a mix of sources: Aging fossil fuel plants on Long Island, imported energy from “dirty” plants in neighboring regions and states, and small local peaker plants in East Hampton and Southampton. These sources all contribute to air pollution and the Climate Crisis, and are subject to volatile “rate shock”. Doesn’t it make sense to begin the move to clean, renewable Offshore Wind Energy?
PLEASE CONNECT WITH US. WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.
On my daily beach walk I came across this dead animal (about 1 week ago, on the Lion Head beach close to the entrance to Hog Creek, in Springs, East Hampton):
Based on the pictures I took, it’s now been identified as Kemp’s Ridley Turtle. This is a critically endangered species. In fact it is the most endangered sea turtle species!
Obviously we would all like to know why this rare animal showed up on our beach, and what might have caused its death.
Adult turtles which reach sexual maturity at the age of 7-15 years, measure about 27″ in length. This specimen measured about approx. 15″ and was therefore a juvenile.
Kemp’s Ridley can be found along the Atlantic coast as far north as New Jersey. Mature adults migrate back to their nesting beach in Mexico every year: female Kemp’s Ridley turtles come together all at once in what is known as an arribada, which means “arrival” in Spanish. Nearly 95 percent of Kemp’s Ridley nesting worldwide occurs in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Nesting is usually between May and July, and females will lay up to three clutches of 100 eggs that must incubate for 50-60 days.
Hatchlings spend up to 10 years in the open ocean as juveniles. Kemp’s Ridley turtles occupy “neritic” zones, which contain muddy or sandy bottoms where their preferred prey is plentiful. Even in the ocean, the Kemp’s Ridley turtles rarely swim in waters deeper than about 160 feet.
Kemp’s Ridley turtles face many threats to their survival including incidental capture in fishing gear, or bycatch, egg collection by predators and climate change.
What was the cause of death for our turtle? Kemp’s Ridley turtles do not tolerate cold water below 8 degrees Celsius. East Hampton waters are currently about 10 degrees Celsius. So it seems that the turtle was too far north for its comfort zone. Note that it’s left front flipper seems to be missing or seriously mangled. This suggests that the turtle may have been injured, perhaps by fishing trawlers. Incidental take by shrimp trawlers in the gulf of Mexico is a recognized hazard for this species.
Finally, there is the possibility that ocean acidification from climate change has altered the food chain for this species as noted by OCEANA. Kemp’s Ridley turtle feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, jellyfish, fish, algae, seaweed, and sea urchins. But juveniles (such as our specimen) feed on crabs and on bay scallops.
It’s interesting that bay scallops in the Peconic bay have recently suffered a die-off discussed elsewhere on this blog and possibly related to ocean acidification.
Bottom line: you don’t have to look far to witness a species in trouble!
I note that this species likes waters with high salinity (over 30 PSU), see above. The following map shows that our waters around Long Island have much lower average salinity (less than 25 PSU). Thus both the low temperature and the low salinity represent a hostile environment for Kemp’s Ridley Turtles.
WWW is a friend of fish and all the
creatures living in our oceans!
Even as the oceans are acidifying and
warming at alarming rates, and species are migrating northwards, the opposition
to off-shore wind energy suggests wind farms will bring harm to fish, or to
whales, etc. Healthy oceans spell abundant fish and are good for the
fishing industry and some fishermen recognize this.
In our opening statement regarding the
South Fork Wind Farm, pinned to the top of this blog it states:
WILL THIS HURT OUR FISHERMEN?
After listening to commercial fishermen, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made
sure that wind turbines and cable will avoid Cox’s Ledge, a valuable commercial
fishing area. In fact, existing wind turbines off Block Island attract marine
life to them, imitating an artificial reef.
For years, researchers have warned that the increasing acidity of the oceans is likely to create a whole host of problems for the marine environment. Check it out: the evidence is already here.
One of the biggest problems is that zooplankton is shifting poleward as a result of warming ocean temperatures. The findings, published in the journal Nature, show the widespread impact climate change is having on marine ecosystems. Zooplankton is at the origin of the food chain in the oceans. Scientists have warned that while some species will be able to follow their food source to new waters, many others will not. Even at 1 degree [Celsius] of warming, species have to adapt because their food source has disappeared. As an example, read about the migration of stingrays that have wiped out oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay and have moved to the Peconic Bay this year!
Here is something fun you can do. Go to https://poshtide.threadless.com/collections. Pick your favorite fish (or shell fish) design and order a holiday gift: tee shirt, slippers, back pack, pillow, beach towel, zip pouch, or even a shower curtain! If you are on Instagram check out @staceyposnett an incredibly gifted artist and designer and a big environmentalist. You can also order custom items which include the Win With Wind logo.
A massive and mysterious die-off of bay scallops over the
past summer wiped out as much of 95 percent of the valuable and iconic
shellfish in parts of the Peconic Bay system, raising concerns about the
effect that climate change may have on the future of the East End’s
most famous natural resource.
The scale of the losses, the
scientists who have documented the destruction said, is so great in some
areas as to be reminiscent of the devastation wreaked by some of the
infamous “brown tide” algae blooms of the late 1980s and early 1990s,
which decimated the wild stock and all but ended a centuries-old
commercial fishing industry that relied solely on harvests from the East
The cause of this year’s devastation is not
immediately clear, but scientists say that the arch-enemy of bay
scallops — algae blooms like brown tide and the more recent “rust tide” —
do not appear to be at fault, and other likely culprits also do not
seem to be to blame.
What’s left to blame, according to one of
researchers who has tracked the die-off, is a confluence of
environmental conditions and the stresses of the scallops’ own
biological cycles that may have killed the shellfish, even as they sowed
the seeds of next year’s stock.
There is some good news amid
the devastation, primarily because half the reason that the scale of the
die-off is remarkable is that there were so many live scallops to start
with — and they appear to have spawned before they died, leaving huge
numbers of their offspring in their place.
Population Takes A Nose Dive Surveys conducted by Cornell Cooperative Extension biologists last spring had revealed that the annual “set” of young-of-the-year scallops was enormous and on track to support a commercial take rivaling or surpassing those of the robust hauls of the last two years.
But when the scientists donned wetsuits and returned to their underwater survey areas throughout the Peconics early last month, they found the ghostly signs of an epic massacre: thousands of scallops sitting where they died, their shells gaping open.
“We call them ‘cluckers,’” Dr. Stephen Tettelbach, who leads the surveying for Cornell, said of the dead scallops, whose twin shells have remained attached and sitting on the bay floor. “Based on the cluckers, it looks like the mortality happened a while ago — a few months, probably. The pattern was the same everywhere we went — there were no freshly dead adult scallops. They had no tissue left in them. So whatever happened to them happened a while ago.”
A longtime marine biology professor for Long Island University at Southampton College and C.W. Post College, Dr. Tettelbach has been conducting bi-annual surveys of scallop populations since LIU and Cornell began an effort to restore the scallop stocks depleted by the brown tides that beset the bays between 1986 and 1995. Through the Cornell hatchery in Southold, the initiative released more than 10 million seedling-sized scallops into the bay over the last two decades in the hope of restoring the spawning foundation for the species.
Looking For Answers Since discovering this year’s die-off, Dr. Tettelbach and other scientists have been exploring what could have caused the mortality.
The destruction of harmful algae blooms was quickly ruled out, because there were none in the Peconics this year — the second straight year that the destructive successor to the brown tides, a red algae bloom that scientists have dubbed “rust tide,” has been absent from local bays, after a 15-year run of increasingly dense blooms.
Dr. Tettelbach himself had pinned a large die-off of scallops in the same area in 2012 on the dense blooms of rust tide that killed what had looked to be a robust stock just weeks before the harvest began.
The second thought about this year’s event — a disease of some sort — also is being seen as unlikely, because the die-off does not appear to have extended to juvenile scallops, which the survey divers saw alive and in great abundance.
And the vast extent of the mortality could not be chalked up to the usual cast of submarine characters that prey on scallops like crabs, whelks and some fish species.
But there was a wild card this year in the form of an invasion of a certain species of shellfish-eating stingrays that have wiped out oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay.
Thousands of cownose rays, a brown-winged creature that feeds primarily on shellfish, swarmed into East End waters in July and August, roaming the bay bottoms in schools of dozens or hundreds.
Dr. Tettelbach said there were accounts of the rays being seen in Hallock Bay, in Orient, but he has not yet confirmed that they made their way deep into the Peconics. He said the rays could explain the disappearances in some of the areas where large number of scallops had been seen in the spring, and now there are no signs of them at all.
But the species would not be easy to blame for the full extent of scallop losses this summer, since there were so many intact shells left behind as a sign that the scallops simply died where they sat. The shells of scallops set upon by the rays would be crushed, he said.
A Matter Of Climate? Eliminating those considerations turned the former professor’s critical thinking to other environmental factors, and the warm temperatures of the summer.
Data from water monitoring stations at the western end of the Peconics revealed that water temperatures hovered around 84 degrees for several weeks this summer — an unusually long stretch of exceptionally high temperatures, and near what is understood to be the lethal limit for scallops.
In a typical parallel, levels of dissolved oxygen in the water were also very low — near zero at times — which typically will result in the death of any marine species.
But those conditions have occurred before at various times of past summers, and broad die-offs of scallops were not seen.
Dr. Tettelbach said his hypothesis is that the high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels had set in early enough this year as to coincide with the weeks of early- to mid-summer when scallops are going through their first spawning cycle — some will spawn again in the fall — which can weaken them and make them more sensitive to environmental conditions.
“What I’m thinking is that the stress from spawning combined with environmental stressors may have been the cause,” he said, noting that if his hypothesis is correct, it would exacerbate concerns about a trend of warming waters. “We’ve had water temperatures in the Peconics over 80 degrees the last five years. Years ago, we never saw that.”
Impacting Local Economy Word of the scientific findings was not news to area baymen, some of whom routinely do their own pre-season surveying to keep tabs on their economic prospects for the fall.
Many didn’t even set out in their boats in search of scallops on Monday, the first day of the season in New York State waters.
“I went clamming today,” Edward Warner, a bayman from Hampton Bays, who is also a Southampton Town Trustee, said on Monday. “The only other time I can remember not going scalloping on the first day was, maybe, 1986, the first year we had the brown tide.”
Among those who did go, many found little return for their efforts.
“I had 14,” said Stuart Heath, a bayman from Montauk who scoured traditional scallop grounds in Shelter Island Sound. “I went all around North Haven, from Margarita guy’s house … to Sag Harbor, around the moorings, Barcelona, all around Northwest. Terrible. We’ve had a terrible year already — now this.”
Wainscott bayman Greg Verity said he ran his small boat across to the North Fork and found enough scallops to fill several bushel baskets, but he was still well short of the 10 bushels that a bayman is allowed to harvest each day.
East Hampton’s baymen said there’s only a faint glimmer of hope, when East Hampton waters open next week, that there may be some scallops lurking in areas that haven’t been prospected.
The Cornell scientists conduct their surveys in the string of bays connected to Great Peconic Bay, from Flanders Bay in the west to Orient Harbor in the east. They do not survey any of the waters off East Hampton — where scalloping is not allowed until this coming Sunday.
Pre-season scouting has not given East Hampton’s baymen much cause for hope, either.
Mr. Heath and Mr. Verity said they’d heard talk of scallops in Three Mile Harbor, where the town releases thousands of hatchery-raised baby scallops each year. But that supply is often depleted quite quickly, especially when the harvest in other areas is poor.
On Monday evening, Mr. Verity and Sara Miranda were counting themselves as lucky while they shucked their way through the briny pile of scallops on a steel table set up in a trailer next to Mr. Verity’s cottage in Wainscott.
“I’ll sell ’em to whoever wants ’em,” he said, as he flicked the glistening white morsels of meat into a pile.
The scene was not being replicated in many of the seafood shops around the region.
“So far, we’ve got nothing, not even one bushel,” said Danny Coronesi at Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays, one of the areas largest buyers.
“I’ve been here a long time. We’ve never had this. Even on bad years, opening day some guys would come in with them.” He added, “We had thought this was going to be a great year.”
Comment from Win With Wind: Scientists quoted think global warming is causing this die-off. Are scallops the canary in the coal mine for the marine environment and when will all local fishermen understand that global warming will destroy their industry, not offshore wind?
For what it’s worth, here are my main take-aways from the new LIPA Fact Sheet (attached below with highlights added) on the South Fork Wind Farm:
1. South Fork Wind Farm was the least cost solution to meet increasing electric demand on the South Fork and New York’s renewable energy mandates.
2. LIPA’s share of New York State’s 9,000 MW offshore wind target is over 1,000 MW and SF Wind Farm is the first of many projects to meet the Long Island goal.
3. The South Fork RFP Portfolio (Wind+Storage+Demand Response) will cost the average residential customer on LI between $1.39 and $1.57 per month.
4. The price LIPA pays for the 90 MW SFWF starts at 16 c/kWh; the price for the additional 40 MW (contracted in Nov. ’18) starts at 8.6 c/kWh (this additional energy was the lowest cost renewable energy ever on LI at the time). The combined cost for the 130 MW would be about 13.7c/kWh in the first year. Prices escalate at an average 2% per year for 20 years.
5. Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) over 20 years for the combined 130 MW SFWF is 14.1¢/kwh (in 2018 dollars, using a 6.5% discount rate). Cost of other planned projects in the region are projected to be significantly lower but an ‘apple-to-apple’ comparison is difficult because these projects are much larger and benefit from economies of scale. They were also selected later and thus benefitted from lower industry price levels.
6. Prices for offshore wind power have declined rapidly in Europe due to increased investment and improving technology and we are now seeing price declines in the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry.
7. LIPA’s future offshore wind purchases will total over 800 MW, and will cost less as a result of expected price decreases. LIPA will also buy an estimated 90 MW of offshore wind from the recently announced 1,700 MW of New York State projects (by NYSERDA).
8. As a result of procuring offshore wind power spread out over many years (a decade or so) as prices decline, LIPA’s overall offshore wind portfolio cost will be minimized.
9. When comparing costs of renewable energy to conventional sources we also need to account for costs which are typically not accounted for such as the cost of air pollution, climate, unknown fuel price risk, etc.
The bottom line, as I see it, is that all this demonstrates that the South Fork Wind Farm not only provides us with local, renewable and reliable power but does so at an affordable price. And over time we will get more and more offshore wind power at even lower prices. This will result in a very affordable average bill impact and could even provide significant savings over fossil fueled power if natural gas prices turn out to be higher than currently forecast.
I’m attaching a marked-up version of the LIPA Fact Sheet where I highlighted sections discussing some of the above points in context.
Authored by Paul Veers1,*, and 28 other scientists. Science 25 Oct 2019: Vol. 366, Issue 6464, eaau2027 DOI: 10.1126/science.aau2027
I have copied the abstract and tried to
sum up the salient points. Basically, the success of Wind (and Solar) energy, and
the predicted growth of the industry, has led to new challenges. Innovations are
needed to handle the predicted future demand for clean energy.
Harvested by advanced technical systems
honed over decades of research and development, wind energy has become a
mainstream energy resource. However, continued innovation is needed to realize
the potential of wind to serve the global demand for clean energy. Here, we
outline three interdependent, cross-disciplinary grand challenges
underpinning this research endeavor. The first is the need for a deeper
understanding of the physics of atmospheric flow in the critical zone
of plant operation. The second involves science and engineering of the
largest dynamic, rotating machines in the world. The third encompasses optimization
and control of fleets of wind plants working synergistically within the
electricity grid. Addressing these challenges could enable wind power
to provide as much as half of our global electricity needs and perhaps beyond.
Abundant, affordable energy in many
forms has enabled notable human achievements, including modern food and
transportation infrastructure. Broad-based access to affordable and clean
energy will be critical to future human achievements and an elevated global
standard of living. However, by 2050, the global population will reach an
estimated 9.8 billion, up from ~7.6 billion in 2017 (1). Moreover, Bloomberg New Energy
Finance (BNEF) estimates suggest that annual global electricity demand could
exceed 38,000 terawatt-hours per year by 2050, up from ~25,000 terawatt-hours
in 2017 (2). The demand for low- or no-carbon
technologies for electricity is increasing, as is the need for electrifying
other energy sectors, such as heating and cooling and transport (2–4). As a result of these two partially
coupled megatrends, additional sources of low-cost, clean energy are
experiencing increasing demand around the globe. With a broadly available
resource and zero-cost fuel, as well as exceptionally low life-cycle pollutant
emissions, wind energy has the potential to be a primary contributor to the
growing clean energy needs of the global community.
During the past decade, the cost of
three major electricity sources—wind power, solar power, and natural gas—has
decreased substantially. Wind and solar are attractive because their low
life-cycle emissions offer public health and broader environmental benefits.
Leading energy forecasters such as consultancies, nongovernmental
organizations, and major energy companies—and specifically BNEF, DNV GL, the
International Energy Agency (IEA), and BP—anticipate continued price parity
among all of these sources, which will likely result in combined wind and
solar supplying between one- and two-thirds of the total electricity demand
and wind-only shares accounting for one-quarter to one-third across the globe
by 2050 (3–6). Tapping the potential terawatts of
wind energy that could drive the economic realization of these forecasts and
subsequently moving from hundreds of terawatt-hours per year to petawatt-hours
per year from wind and solar resources could provide an array of further
economic and environmental benefits to both local and global communities.
From a business perspective, at just
over 51 gigawatts of new wind installations in 2018 (7) and more than half a terawatt of
operating capacity, the global investment in wind energy is now ~$100
billion (U.S. dollars) per annum. The energy consultant DNV GL predicts
that wind energy demand and the scale of deployment will grow by a factor
of 10 by 2050, bringing the industry to the trillion-dollar scale (6) and positioning wind as one of the
primary sources of the world’s electricity generation.
However, to remain economically
attractive for investors and consumers, the cost of energy from wind must
continue to decrease (8, 9). Moreover, as deployment of
variable-output wind and solar generation infrastructure increases, new
challenges surface related to the adequacy of generation capacity on a
long-term basis and short-term balancing of the systems—both of which are
critical to maintaining future grid system stability and reliability (10–12).
A future in which wind energy
contributes one-third to more than one-half of consumed electricity, and in
which local levels of wind-derived power may exceed 100% of local demand, will
require a paradigm shift in how we think about, develop, and manage the
electric grid system (10–14). The associated transformation of the
power system in high-renewables scenarios will require simultaneous management
of large quantities of weather-driven, variable-output generation as well as
evolving and dynamic consumption patterns.
A key aspect of this future system is
the availability of large quantities of near-zero marginal cost energy, albeit
with uncertain timing. With abundant near-zero marginal cost energy, more
flexibility in the overall electricity system will allow many different end
users to access these “cheap” energy resources. Potential use cases for this energy
could entail charging a large number of electric vehicles, providing
inexpensive storage at different system sizes (consumer to industrial) and time
scales (days to months), or channeling into chemicals or other manufactured
products (sometimes referred to as “power-to-X” applications).
A second key aspect of this future system is the transition from an electric grid system centered on traditional synchronous generation power plants to one that is converter dominated (15). This latter paradigm reduces the physical inertia in the system currently provided by traditional power plants while increasing reliance on information and digital signals to maintain the robustness and power quality of the modern grid (12).
Here are some interesting figures from the this Review: