Get with the Program

LTE published in the East Hampton Star:

Negotiation
East Hampton
December 23, 2019

To the Editor:

Initially, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott claimed that it supported the South Fork Wind Farm but did not want the cable buried under Beach Lane. Interesting, Wainscott made no objection earlier in the year to East Hampton Town and Suffolk County burying nine miles of water pipe in Wainscott roadways (including Beach Lane) when the water quality of Wainscott’s aquifer was called into question.

Next, C.P.W. argued that the cable should come ashore at Hither Hills. The plan was to bury it under Montauk Highway from Hither Hills through Amagansett and East Hampton Village and then up Route 114 to the Cove Hollow Road substation. This would be very disruptive to homes, businesses, and traffic along this 11-mile route. This would take two off-seasons to complete. When asked why this was preferable, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott had no answer. F.Y.I., Beach Lane has six year-round residences.

Now, C.P.W. is opposed to the wind farm because the price negotiated with LIPA is too high. The agreement between Deepwater/Orsted and LIPA (which was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission) was the result of a public bid, which Deepwater/Orsted won because it provided electricity at the lowest cost. Now, four-plus years later, new wind farm bids are coming in even lower. Such prices will benefit South Fork residents since PSEG prices are based on a mix of all the prices it pays for the electricity it delivers. Lower prices for power from the newer wind farms will lower PSEG costs, and thus bills to consumers will go down.

Recently, C.P.W. claimed, without any supporting details, that within five years there would be more efficient and affordable ways to solve the power needs on the East End. Ninety-nine percent of scientists agree climate change is a current crisis. We need immediate action to address South Fork power needs, air pollution, health risks, sea level rise, as well as the existential crisis of climate change.

Finally, C.P.W. complains that Orsted is breaking its promise to explore the Hither Hills route in the Public Service Commission settlement negotiations, which are ongoing. Significant time was spent on the Hither Hills route during those negotiations, and on Jan. 8, at the request of C.P.W., an additional settlement negotiation will be held to allow C.P.W. to present its alternative route.

Orsted has gone out of its way to cooperate with C.P.W. The only deception has been on the part of C.P.W., which has little credibility. Clearly, C.P.W. is just a small, moneyed Nimby group who wants electricity for Wainscott without any involvement or inconvenience on their part.

It’s time for C.P.W. to get with the program and support the wind farm, which will provide electricity to 70,000 South Fork homes, including the 700 or so in Wainscott.

JERRY MULLIGAN

Support for South Fork Wind Farm

East Hampton, NY

First there is this report “Labor, Environmental Organizations, and Long Island Residents Voice Strong Support for Critical Offshore Wind Development” released by the Sierra Club.

…and then this very poignant personal letter submitted at the PSC hearing on June 11th in East Hampton:

June 11, 2019

My name is Michael Hansen. I live in Wainscott.

Today is my wedding anniversary.

But I am here today instead… (my wife understands) because I am acutely aware that we are in a climate crisis. And it’s happening right now. It’s happening on Long Island. It’s happening in the Township of East Hampton.

1.   The docks at Shelter Island need to be raised because of a rising sea level.

2.   We are paying to shore up the infrastructure in Montauk because today’s “typical nor’easter,” is not typical at all.

But the opposition to wind power on the East End wants you to know, and they have said it many times, that they are, “for renewable energy, they are for solar power, they are for wind power… but not now, it’s too expensive, somewhere else, not in my backyard.”

We are paying for climate change right now. Our tax dollars are going to those docks in Montauk. Today.  

We are in a climate crisis and I am here today to speak for my children. My daughter is eight and my son is six.

My family has been on the East End for over three hundred years—as I am sure many of the families in this room have been—and my family and yours will continue to live here. And a wind farm, that is part of a comprehensive plan, is key to our children’s future.

A final word on Wainscott. The cable landing should be there. It will be least disruptive to East Hampton Town. And, ya know, Wainscott is tough. We can take it. We endured Suffolk County Water digging up our roads to provide us with clean water.

We can endure one lane of digging for clean energy.

Why all the fuss?

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.

Read more here: