This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 24, 2002

Long Island Could Draw on 5,200 Megawatts of Offshore Wind

A study released on Earth Day suggests that offshore wind turbines could supply much of Long Island's power needs in the future. The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) is acting on the study and plans to solicit wind energy proposals by year-end. The study, commissioned by LIPA and the New York Energy Research and Development Authority, determined that the best wind option for Long Island is a 314-square-mile area of shallow ocean waters located east of Montauk Point and three to six nautical miles off Long Island's south shore. According to the study, as much as 5,200 megawatts of wind capacity could be built there with minimal environmental impact.

In response to the study, LIPA is holding a pre-proposal meeting with interested wind energy developers on June 25th. The utility anticipates additional studies to examine environmental impacts and costs before determining the scale of its proposed wind plant. Based on the local, state, and federal approvals needed to construct an offshore wind plant, LIPA estimates that at the earliest, a wind plant could be built by 2005. See the LIPA press release.

How does Long Island's wind potential compare to its power needs? The worst case occurred last August, when LIPA's peak summer power demand hit a record 4,906 megawatts. Power demand is much lower during the rest of the year: last week's heat wave caused a new April record demand of 3,355 megawatts, compared to a peak demand of about 2,700 megawatts for a typical April day. Of course, wind plants don't necessarily produce peak power during times of peak energy demand — most wind plants produce about a third of their total capacity on average. See the LIPA press releases and