Richard DeRose of Wainscott walks his dog at the town beach on Beach Lane in Wainscott, likely site of a cable landing for the South Fork Wind Farm. Dec. 5 Credit: Newsday/Mark Harrington
Thanks for your Dec. 9 news story on the South Fork offshore wind project [“Negotiations over cable”] about talks regarding the landing site of an electrical cable. As a former commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, I’m no stranger to local opposition to projects like this. But the opposition by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott to the cable landing is “not in my backyard” on steroids. I encourage this small group of owners of second homes to reconsider.
The cable landing in Wainscott is preferred because it is the least environmentally disruptive and would affect the fewest people for the shortest period. Unfortunately, despite the need to rapidly move away from fossil fuels, the citizens group is taking an irrational “anyplace but here” attitude. The temporary inconvenience from burying the cable would be minimal, and would occur in the offseason, when most owners of second homes are not around.
Connecting this offshore energy to the Long Island grid is now being reviewed by several state agencies. I believe this time-tested process, along with decisions by local officials, will produce a project that is good for the South Fork, Long Island and the state. I urge citizens of Wainscott to support it. After all, coastal property owners have the most to lose if New York does not lead the way in combating climate change.
Joe Martens, East Hampton
Editor’s note: The writer is director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, a coalition of organizations supporting wind power.
Supplies from turbines will prove to be the next great energy revolution, IEA predicts – International Energy Agency (IEA)
Jillian Ambrose Energy correspondent
In the Guardian, Fri 25 Oct 2019 04.23 EDT First published on Thu 24 Oct 2019 14.45 EDT
“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast,” the IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said.
The study predicts offshore wind generation will grow 15-fold to emerge as a $1tn (£780bn) industry in the next 20 years and will prove to be the next great energy revolution.
The IEA said earlier this week that global supplies of renewable electricity were growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, driven by a resurgence in solar energy. Offshore wind power would drive the world’s growth in clean power due to plummeting costs and new technological breakthroughs, including turbines close to the height of the Eiffel Tower and floating installations that can harness wind speeds further from the coast.
The next generation of floating turbines capable of operating further from the shore could generate enough energy to meet the world’s total electricity demand 11 times over in 2040, according to IEA estimates.
The report predicts that the EU’s offshore wind capacity will grow from almost 20 gigawatts today to nearly 130 gigawatts by 2040, and could reach 180 gigawatts with stronger climate commitments.
In China, the growth of offshore wind generation is likely to be even more rapid, the IEA said. Its offshore wind capacity is forecast to grow from 4 gigawatts to 110 gigawatts by 2040 or 170 gigawatts if it adopts tougher climate targets.
Birol said offshore wind would not only contribute to generating clean electricity, but could also offer a major opportunity in the production of hydrogen, which can be used instead of fossil fuel gas for heating and in heavy industry.
The process of making hydrogen from water uses huge amounts of electricity but abundant, cheap offshore wind power could help produce a low-cost, zero-carbon alternative to gas.
In the North Sea, energy companies are already planning to use the electricity generated by giant offshore windfarms to turn seawater into hydrogen on a floating “green hydrogen” project, backed by the UK government. The clean-burning gas could be pumped back to shore to heat millions of homes by the 2030s. The UK has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The overlap between the UK’s declining oil and gas industry and the burgeoning offshore wind sector could offer major economic benefits for the UK, Birol said.
“Offshore wind provides a huge new business portfolio for major engineering firms and established oil and gas companies which have a strong offshore production experience,” he said. “Our analysis shows that 40% of the work in offshore wind construction and maintenance has synergies with oil and gas practises.”
We have some news… about how we will respond to the escalating climate crisis – we will not stay quiet. This is the Guardian’s pledge: we will continue to give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. The Guardian recognises the climate emergency as the defining issue of our times.
Our independence means we are free to investigate and challenge inaction by those in power. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. And we have made several important changes to our style guide to ensure the language we use accurately reflects the environmental catastrophe.
The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope. We will also report back on our own progress as an organisation, as we take important steps to address our impact on the environment.
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We hope you will consider supporting the Guardian’s open, independent reporting today. Every contribution from our readers, however big or small, is so valuable
The following article appeared verbatim in The New York Post (not exactly a left wing rag).
Donald Trump’s windmill hatred is a worry for booming industry
By Associated Press, September 30, 2019
BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — The winds are blowing fair for America’s wind power industry, making it one of the fastest-growing US energy sources.
Land-based turbines are rising by the thousands across America, from the remote Texas plains to farm towns of Iowa. And the US wind boom now is expanding offshore, with big corporations planning $70 billion in investment for the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind farms.
“We have been blessed to have it,” says Polly McMahon, a 13th-generation resident of Block Island, where a pioneering offshore wind farm replaced the island’s dirty and erratic diesel-fired power plant in 2016. “I hope other people are blessed too.”
But there’s an issue. And it’s a big one. President Donald Trump hates wind turbines.
He’s called them “disgusting” and “ugly” and “stupid,” denouncing them in hundreds of anti-wind tweets and public comments dating back more than a decade, when he tried and failed to block a wind farm near his Scottish golf course.
And those turbine blades. “They say the noise causes cancer,” Trump told a Republican crowd last spring, in a claim immediately rejected by the American Cancer Society.
Now, wind industry leaders and supporters fear that the federal government, under Trump, may be pulling back from what had been years of encouragement for climate-friendly wind.
The Interior Department surprised and alarmed wind industry supporters in August, when the agency unexpectedly announced it was withholding approval for the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind project, a $2.8 billion complex of 84 giant turbines. Slated for building 15 miles (24 kilometers) off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Vineyard Wind has a brisk 2022 target for starting operations. Its Danish-Spanish partners already have contracts to supply Massachusetts electric utilities.
Investors backing more than a dozen other big wind farms are lined up to follow Vineyard Wind with offshore wind projects of their own. Shell’s renewable-energy offshoot is among the businesses ponying up for federal leases, at bids of more than $100 million, for offshore wind farm sites.
The Interior Department cited the surge in corporate interest for offshore wind projects in saying it wanted more study before moving forward. It directed Vineyard Wind to research the overall impact of the East Coast’s planned wind boom.
Interior Department spokesman Nicholas Goodwin said offshore energy remains “an important component” in the Trump administration’s energy strategy. But the strategy includes “ensuring activities are safe and environmentally responsible,” Goodwin said in a statement.
Wind power now provides a third or more of the electricity generated in some Southwest and Midwest states. And New York, New Jersey and other Eastern states already are joining Massachusetts in planning for wind-generated electricity.
Along with the US shale oil boom, the rise in wind and solar is helping cushion oil supply shocks like the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities.
But the Interior Department’s pause on the Vineyard Wind project sent a chill through many of the backers of the offshore wind boom. Critics contrast it with the Republican administration’s moves to open up offshore and Arctic areas to oil and gas development, despite strong environmental concerns.
“That I think is sort of a new bar,” for the federal government to require developers to assess the impact of not just their projects but everyone’s, said Stephanie McClellan, a researcher and director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind at the University of Delaware. “That worries everybody.”
Thomas Brostrom, head of US operations for Denmark’s global offshore wind giant Orsted and operator of the pioneering Block Island wind farm, said that “the last three, four years have seen unbelievable, explosive growth, much more than we could have really hoped for,” in the US, compared to Europe’s already established wind power industry.
Given all the projects in development, “we hope that this is a speed bump, and certainly not a roadblock,” Brostrom said.
Wind power and the public perception of it have changed since America’s first proposed big offshore wind project, Cape Wind off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, died an agonizing 16-year death. Koch and Kennedy families alike, along with other coastal residents, reviled Cape Wind as a potential bird-killing eyesore in their ocean views.
But technological advances since then mean wind turbines can rise much farther offshore, mostly out of sight, and produce energy more efficiently and competitively. Climate change — and the damage it will do these same coastal communities — also has many looking at wind differently now.
Federal fisheries officials have been among the main bloc calling for more study, saying they need to know more about the impacts on ocean life. Some fishing groups still fear their nets will tangle in the massive turbines, although Vineyard Wind’s offer to pay millions of dollars to offset any harm to commercial fishing won the support of others. At least one Cape Cod town council also withheld support.
A rally for Vineyard Wind after the Interior Department announced its pause drew local Chamber of Commerce leaders and many other prominent locals. Massachusetts’ Republican governor, Charlie Baker, has been traveling to Washington and calling Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to try to win his support.
At Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, instructor Chris Powicki’s Offshore Wind 101 classes and workshop have drawn nuclear and marina workers, engineers, young people and others. People are hoping wind will provide the kind of good-paying professions and trades they need to afford to stay here, Powicki says.
“Cape Cod has always been at the end of the energy supply line, or at least ever since we lost our dominance with the whale oil industry” after the 19th century, the community college instructor said. “So this is an opportunity for Cape Cod to generate its own energy.”
On land, the wind boom already is well established. By next year, 9% of the country’s electricity is expected to come from wind power, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The wind industry already claims 114,000 jobs, more than twice the number of jobs remaining in US coal mining, which is losing out in competition against cleaner, cheaper energy sources despite the Trump administration’s backing of coal.
The Trump animosity to wind power has gone beyond words in some states, especially in Ohio. A Trump campaign official was active this summer in winning a state ratepayer subsidy for coal and nuclear that also led to cutting state incentives for wind and solar.
But despite the steady gales of condemnation from the country’s wind-hater in chief, wind is booming most strongly in states that voted for Trump.
Then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now Trump’s energy secretary, pushed his state to one of the current top-four wind power states, along with Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa.
In Iowa, home to nearly 4,700 turbines that provided a third of the state’s electricity last year, wind’s popularity is such that Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley had a drone film him as he sat, grinning, atop one of the country’s biggest wind turbines.
Grassley had no patience for Trump’s claim in April that wind turbines like Iowa’s beloved ones could cause cancer.
“Idiotic,” Grassley said then.
On the East Coast, many developers and supporters of offshore wind politely demur when asked about Trump’s wind-hating tweets and comments.
But not on Block Island.
“We’re very fortunate that we got it. Very fortunate. It’s helped us,” McMahon, the retiree on Block Island, said of wind energy. “And don’t worry about the president. He’s not a nice man.”
Appeared yesterday in the EAST HAMPTON STAR.
The Final Inning
August 30, 2019
Baseball fans like to check the box scores. Unlike people, the numbers never lie. As a fan of the planet earth, I like to check out the NASA website Global Climate Change, climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide.
The June 2019 box score for earth is depressing: 412 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, three parts higher than one year ago. For those who may not be avid earth fans, CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas driving climate change. A graph on the NASA website shows that it never exceeded 300 parts per million in 400,000 years of earth’s history. Then we started pumping fossil fuel emissions (CO2) into the air, and it has been rising steadily since. If earth were a baseball team, fans would be clamoring for the manager’s head, lambasting the owner for being too cheap to pay for decent pitching.
The self-appointed manager of the Wainscott opponents of clean wind energy is Simon Kinsella, who claims to be an earth fan, but he thinks a buried cable in his neighborhood is too big a price to pay to improve our chances of winning against climate change. Winning is not guaranteed. In fact, all indications are that humanity is already assured a grim century.
Scientists now project that we must reduce fossil emissions by 45 percent in 11 years to avoid dire consequences. Generalize from resistance to clean energy, like what we see from Mr. Kinsella, and one must conclude that there is scant chance of reaching that goal. So it is bad news indeed that we are still turning earth’s thermostat up. And it is puzzling that Mr. Kinsella persists in telling his team they need not do anything different. They should not accept even a small inconvenience. And it is galling that some residents blithely follow this pied piper of petrochemicals.
Pay no attention to forest fires now raging north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, Greenland, Siberia, and the Amazon, releasing an unexpected rush of additional CO2 that scientists didn’t count in their calculations. Simon says ignore the 197 billion tons of ice melted from Greenland in the month of July 2019. Ignore 109 degrees in Paris. Mr. Kinsella must feel that we have plenty of time to resist any local disruption and force others to bear the burden.
But the box score scrupulously kept by NASA scientists is crystal clear. We are in the final inning in which we can do anything to forestall the coming chaos. Pay attention, kids. You may be privileged to live at a great inflection point in planetary history, the point at which we humans, through scientific illiteracy, oblivious self-interest, and greed, doom ourselves to be just another dead end on the merciless map of evolution.
Simon might tell you it isn’t him; it’s Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell. But Trump and McConnell can’t do it alone. They need thousands of Si Kinsellas, whether paid lobbyists or useful idiots, on the front lines fighting every local effort to build the infrastructure for clean energy, saying, “Wait! Don’t be rash! WE don’t need to sacrifice even a little of our bubble of comfort.”
Recently Simon sent an email to 800 town residents, impugning the integrity of Gordian Raacke, a man who for 26 years has been fighting for renewable energy in all of its forms. This email was riddled with false statements. Suggesting that solar and microgrid can render Deepwater unnecessary, he appends a document called “Community Microgrid Project,” and suggests this was a town solution to climate change that was diverted by Mr. Raacke. In fact, Mr. Raacke fought hard for this type of project, but it failed for economic reasons to gain state approval. I suppose Kinsella figured nobody would read it, because it actually is an unsolicited study that calls for 15 megawatts of solar. Deepwater is for 130 megawatts. This is like suggesting the new batboy renders the home-run hitter unnecessary.
I don’t know anybody supporting the wind farm who is opposed to microgrids and solar. We are for both. If we are to achieve net zero, even the wind farm is not enough. But we are in the midst of a climate emergency. The wind farm is shovel ready, with private money willing and eager to build it at negligible cost to ratepayers. The microgrid and solar solution is at this point a flying-horse fantasy, unplanned, unsited, and unfunded, and is simply being used as a distraction by those, like Mr. Kinsella, who resist even the smallest inconvenience in their neighborhood in the town’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
I urge the signers of Kinsella’s petitions to visit the NASA website and read the box score. Tell him to find another hobby, if it is a hobby. Maybe it’s a profession. We don’t know who is paying for the phalanx of lawyers and engineers on his payroll. A suspicious sort might wonder if fossil-fuel money is involved, but I suppose it could be just homegrown ignorance.
Our planet is gasping for breath. Don’t be fooled by fantasies.
Appeared yesterday in the East Hampton Star:
Fulfill Its Goal
August 30, 2019
I am writing to voice strong support for the South Fork Wind Farm. Environmental studies continue to be done, safety concerns have been addressed, and given the climate crisis that exists, this project cannot start soon enough. I feel that it is all hands on deck in the sense that wind power, solar power, reforestation, and sustainability in the way we live, all must play a part to thwart the harm being done to our environment by the continued use of fossil fuels.
Energy from wind turbines, as has been shown in Europe, can move our community along to fulfill its goal of becoming 100 percent sustainable, make our town a role model for our country, and help on the overall path to a healthier planet.
NANCY S. KARLEBACH
Appeared yesterday in the East Hampton Star:
My son and his family were out for the Labor Day holiday. He and his wife went to Wainscott’s Beach Lane beach to enjoy the day and the ocean. On leaving the beach they were approached by a young woman wearing a “Save the Beach” T-shirt. She asked them to sign a petition to “Save the Beach.” My son asked what we were saving the beach from? She responded that the beach had to be saved from the windmills. He asked where the windmills would be located, and she said directly in front of the beach. She also said that the windmills would require the beach to be closed. When asked for more information about the petition and the windmills, she said she did not have any.
Beach Lane has less than two dozen houses. The cable would be buried under the road in the off-season. Beach Lane would then be repaved. The cable will bring enough power for 70,000 typical South Fork homes. The wind turbines will be about 60 miles east of Beach Lane and will not be visible from the beach. The beach will not be closed, and the public will have access to the beach throughout the process. The cable installation will not disturb the surface of the beach as it will be done using horizontal, directional drilling, so the cable will be at least 30 feet beneath the surface of the beach.
Climate change is real and is closing fast. We all, including Wainscott residents, need to join forces to deal with this existential problem.
The short answer is YES. It is the law. South Coast Reporter Nadine Sebai has been extensively covering the issue.
You can ask her direct questions here: Fill out this form.
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.
“In 2016, when an oil tanker off the British mainland came upon a patch of stormy weather near the Channel Islands, it dropped anchor to wait things out. Moments later, internet speeds on the UK island of Jersey plummeted.
It turns out, as the anchor hit bottom, it snagged a few network cables on the seafloor and severed them, leaving internet users across the island temporarily out of access.
Internet cables aren’t the only form of underwater wiring vulnerable to snags on the seafloor. High voltage cables supplying power from the mainland to offshore wind farms are also easy targets if they’re not adequately protected. These black, rubber-coated cables are not the most glamorous components of offshore wind—but they’re critical veins of power that wind operators, developers, and coastal communities rely on to keep this brand new source of clean energy in the U.S. going.”
Now there is new way of checking existing cables for damage as reported by Evan Lubovsky and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It makes use of autonomous underwater vehicles!