Submitted by Alice Tepper Marlin. (letter to the editor of the EH Star, July 2019)
The wind farm proposed to be sited out of sight, 35 miles off our shores, can make a significant contribution to slowing the climate change that so threatens our beautiful seaside community and all life on our precious, unique planet. It is crucial to our town commitment to be powered 100% by renewables by 2030.
To my consternation, opposition is being skillfully fomented by a few individuals who, for various self-interested reasons, loudly promote misinformation and even disinformation about the project and the company behind it, sowing unwarranted fear and distrust.
The brouhaha is over the onshore route of the transmission line carrying the wind-generated electricity from the turbines to the East Hampton substation. The entire line will be under ground. I have seen the equivalent on Block Island, and it is hardly noticeable. All you can see are occasional manhole covers.
Yes, there would be a few months of wintertime construction for installation, but the route from Wainscott is only four miles long and half of it is in the railroad corridor. So this disruption is in no way a big deal. Just a few months ago, ten miles of water main were installed in Wainscott, and not a peep was heard to challenge it.
What about Orsted? Orsted is a Danish renewable energy company and a global leader in offshore wind. Its new partner, Eversource, is a premier transmission builder with 100 years of experience providing energy in the Northeast. Orsted supplies over 25% of the world’s wind energy capacity. It has experience successfully building thousands of offshore turbines in Europe. Fishermen in England, The Netherlands, and France report positively, they say that the fish love these artificial reefs. If these were oil rigs, there would be not only climate damage but also occasional spills killing thousands of marine animals. What harm can we even imagine from a wind spill? In 2018, Orsted won aN award for the most socially responsible companies in the world.
Independent of East Hampton’s decisions, there will be two dozen government reviews before construction can begin. These will provide detailed environmental and other reviews at a technical level above and beyond what one might reasonably expect at the local level. Numerous top environmental groups are participating in the process. In addition, East Hampton has the right to submit all our questions and concerns in these processes. The town Board has already filed a submission.
The South Fork Wind Farm will be able to generate enough power for 70,000 South fork homes.
Our region has the fastest growth rate for electricity use on Long Island. Forecasts indicate that that all the electricity generated by the South Fork wind farm will be required in our local region But even if that proves not to be the case, what portion serves homes and businesses here and what portion serves homes elsewhere matters not a bit to its lessening of global warming and of the acidification of our waters. Acidification from burning fossil fuels has already been a factor in driving the lobsters north and harms all life in the ocean.
We as citizens have a duty not only to our local community but also to the nation.
Let’s think globally and act locally: let our Trustees and Board members know that you want to be counted and will welcome the wind farm.
Alice Tepper Marlin