Clean energy advocates are celebrating in the Empire State. The effort to launch an offshore wind power industry for New York has been a steep and impassioned climb – and today brings validation that the goal is within reach.
Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea (flickr/UK Department of Energy and Climate Change)

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a competitive auction for more than 81,000 acres of federal waters for offshore wind energy development. She stated that “this is another major step in broadening our nation’s energy portfolio, harnessing power near population centers on the East Coast”. The New York Wind Energy Area sits 11 miles south of Long Island and could support the development of a large commercial scale project capable of powering well over 200,000 homes.

Offshore wind power marks a new frontier in renewable energy development, creating the path for sustainable electricity generation, job creation, and strengthening our nation’s economic competitiveness. – Secretary Sally Jewell

The National Wildlife Federation joined our affiliate Environmental Advocates of New York and other key allies in applauding the Obama Administration for this critical step forward. The federal government held its first auction for offshore wind energy leases in 2013, and New York now joins a growing list of states that now have a tremendous, local clean energy opportunity on the table.

New York Jumps In

New York Wind Energy Area (BOEM)

Adding to the excitement of the day, New York’s leaders quickly followed with an unprecedented announcement: New York State is going to participate in the lease auction. This is a bold, innovative step in New York’s pursuit of offshore wind power – a massive, untapped energy source critical for meeting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of generating 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030. As John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recognized, “offshore wind will bring clean energy and economic development to New York’s coastal communities, growing the state’s economy and supporting Governor Cuomo’s commitment to protecting the environment.”

Offshore wind offers our state great promise and NYSERDA is committed to ensuring this vast renewable energy resource is developed in a cost-effective way to augment New York’s energy infrastructure. – John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA

The National Wildlife Federation and our growing, diverse coalition of partners in New York have been calling on Governor Cuomo to make this large-scale, long-term commitment to offshore wind power, and thus applauded the announcement as a promising step forward.

New Yorkers have much to celebrate with Governor Cuomo’s announcement that New York State will bring new, bold leadership in pursuit of offshore wind power. – Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager, NWF

With a massive, untapped pollution-free energy source available right off our shores, New York has no time to waste. Moving an offshore wind project forward off the Rockaways can be a critical first step in building the large scale, long term offshore wind commitment needed to truly launch offshore wind power for New York. NWF looks forward to working with both state and federal leaders to bring responsibly developed offshore wind power to New York.

What’s Next?

Sea turtles benefit from responsibly developed clean energy sources like offshore wind (photo: USFWS)
Sea turtles benefit from responsibly developed clean energy sources like offshore wind. Photo by USFWS

Put simply: we need to get this done and get it done right. NWF and partners work diligently all along the coast to ensure that offshore wind power advances with the highest standards of wildlife protection in place every step of the way, and New York will be no exception. Large-scale clean energy solutions are critical to protecting wildlife and communities from the threat of climate change, and the responsible development of offshore wind power will be essential to charting a clean energy future for our crowded coastal population centers and their strained energy markets.

NWF looks forward to working with state and federal officials, our conservation partners, and residents of the Empire State to move this incredible opportunity forward for New York – and to ensure it’s done right.

 Urge your governor to lead on offshore wind power!