In spite of the fears voiced by some fishermen, its interesting that major offshore cables have been in existence in the Long Island sound and the New York Harbor for over 20 years. Initial concerns about dangers to the fishing and shell fishing industries in the relevant areas have not materialized. Its strange that no one talks about this… Check my earlier post on this story.
This is a cross section (a real piece) of the existing Block Island cable for their wind farm, consisting of 5 wind turbines that produce all the energy for the island with surplus energy for the state of Rhode Island. It is on my kitchen table. It measures 7 inches in diameter. It is similar to the cable that will bring energy from the South Fork Wind farm ashore.
“Carbon-free New York by 2040” is the overriding goal. Period.
If the urgency of achieving this goal is not apparent to any readers, just look at the most recent local news: “Higher tides force Shelter Island Ferry to rebuild ramps” This is a very real cost of sea level rise here on the South Fork! Check it out via Newsday.com.
And this is just the beginning.
On the other side of the issue we have loud opponents of the South Fork wind farm:
1) wealthy homeowners, with mansions on the Wainscott beach, who oppose any cable coming ashore in their vicinity, clearly a case of NIMBY
2) fishermen that have been whipped up with scare tactics. I note that there are only 2 commercial fishing boats out of Montauk that fish in the Southfork wind farm area (OCS-A 0486, near Cox Ledge) which is closer to Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard than to Montauk. From Montauk it takes 5 hours to get there by boat and 5 hours back.
For all those worried about a disruptive cable running under the sea bed and coming ashore somewhere, I would point out that a larger electric cable already feeds power in to Long Island coming all the way from New Jersey. This dates back to 2007! Like a giant extension cord, this transmission cable, named Neptune, stretches 50 miles underwater from Sayreville, N.J., comes ashore at Jones beach and has been plugged into Long Island for all these years without any nefarious effects on, or off shore. It is a 10″ cable and provides 660 megawatts.
Likewise LIPA imports power from New England on the 330-megawatt Cross Sound Cable, which runs underwater from Connecticut. Two older cables, the 600-megawatt Y49 cable and the 599-megawatt Y50 cable, also run under the Sound to the Island.
Initial concerns about the effects on the shell fish industry were apparently not a problem over all these years.
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.