A state-wide coalition of environmental, business and labour groups is urging New York’s energy regulators to adopt a ‘low-cost’ option for bringing offshore wind power to New York because it can generate the most jobs, greatest economic and environmental benefit, and reduce electricity costs.
However, the coalition said New York needs to move fast because it is in a race with New Jersey, Massachusetts and other US states to become the hub for a clean energy economy and reap the benefits that come from being a national offshore wind leader.
The New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA) has submitted comments to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), which is considering options for how to implement Governor Andrew Cuomo’s offshore wind initiative, which is an essential part of the governor’s goal of having 50% of New York’s electricity generated by renewable energy sources by 2030.
“Our analysis shows that done right, New York’s offshore wind initiative could lead to upward of US$6Bn in economic activity, 13,200 new jobs and lower electric bills for New Yorkers, primarily in the downstate region, where rates are among the highest in the nation,” said NYOWA director Joe Martens.
“To realise these benefits the PSC needs to adopt a ‘low-cost option’ as quickly as possible to allow the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to initiate a procurement for offshore wind in 2018. We cannot be left behind by other states that are moving quickly to develop this clean energy source,” Mr Martens said.
Governor Cuomo has proposed a plan to create enough offshore wind energy to power 1.25M homes by 2030. The PSC is considering options on how to bring to consumers the first 800 MW from windfarms to be developed off New York’s Atlantic coast.
The Alliance’s comments to the PSC and an economic report prepared by the Brattle Group suggested that early movers in the offshore wind energy industry are likely to garner the most benefits.
The New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan estimated up to US$6Bn in economic growth from offshore wind and 5,000 new jobs. The Brattle analysis estimated that under certain conditions New York’s gross domestic product could increase by up to US$7.2Bn and that by 2030, new direct, indirect and induced jobs could peak at 13,200.
Since offshore wind is emission and pollution free and would replace fossil fuel generation in the downstate region, it would reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and public health in New York City, Long Island and in the broader study region.
NYOWA supports the PSC giving significant weight and consideration in the procurement process to environmental best management practices, local economic benefits and labour standards that will help ensure that projects protect New York’s marine environment, provide high wage jobs and help improve local communities.