Largest US offshore wind farm gets green light

Tthe Block Island Wind Farm off the shores of Rhode Island
Tthe Block Island Wind Farm off the shores of Rhode Island

Local authorities approved the largest offshore wind farm in the United States on Wednesday, to be located near Long Island and capable of powering some 50,000 households.

Construction on the site, which could begin by 2019, is set to install an initial 15 turbines with a capacity of 90 megawatts.

The South Fork Wind Farm will be located some 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of the tip of Long Island off Queens and Brooklyn.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who announced the initiative alongside the Long Island Power Authority, said the turbines would not be visible off the island's coast.

Project operator Deepwater Wind told AFP it aims to have the farm up and running by 2022, saying it had not yet decided on a manufacturer for the turbines.

South Fork will be only the second in the United States. The first, located off Rhode Island's Block Island in the northeastern United States, has been operational since December.

Its five turbines—manufactured in France by GE Renewable Energy—provide energy to 17,000 homes on the island and across New England.

"There is a huge clean energy resource blowing off of our coastline just over the horizon, and it is time to tap into this unlimited resource to power our communities," Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement.

The area where South Fork is located has the potential to host up to 1,000 megawatts of wind power, Cuomo said.

The New York governor has already committed to a target of generating 2.4 gigawatts of offshore energy—enough to power 1.25 million households—by 2030.

According to the agreement between the Long Island Energy Authority and Deepwater Wind, the government will pay for the generated but none of the costs for the site's construction and management.

© 2017 AFP

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