The Beacon

New York, the New Windy City?

(Photo: Oceana)

Nobody who lived through it will ever forget the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy.  Strong storm surges flooded lower Manhattan, destroyed homes and businesses, and wreaked havoc along the entire coastline of the surrounding tri-state area. The storm caused an estimated $68 billion in damage, making it one of the most costly storms in United States history. Only Hurricane Katrina was worse. Today, more than a year later, many areas in the region are still recovering.

This tragic event was just another sobering reminder of the kind of dangerous extreme weather events that our dependence on carbon-polluting fossil fuels can cause, and of the enormous challenges we face because of global climate change.

Yesterday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report finding that greenhouse gases rose more quickly from 2000 to 2010 than in each of the previous three decades. The report found that if we hope to have a chance of mitigating the dangerous effects of climate change, we must make major institutional and technological changes in how we source and use energy.

For our oceans, the solution is clear: we must rapidly reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels that cause global warming, like offshore oil drilling, and simultaneously increase the development of clean, renewable energy like offshore wind power.

New York State can play a significant role in moving the nation in that direction.

Modest estimates suggest that New York’s coastline could allow for the development of about 5 gigawatts of offshore wind power ­— that’s enough to power about 1.5 million homes and displace more than 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Offshore wind power is a proven technology that can bring billions of dollars of investment to New York and create thousands of desperately needed jobs.

New York has always been a leader and a trendsetter and today the state has a unique opportunity to continue in that fashion by becoming home to the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. Right now, there are plans in place to develop more than 200 megawatts of offshore wind power off the coast of Long Island, well beyond the horizon. The project is ready to go, but it needs the strong support of Governor Cuomo to become a reality.

Harnessing this resource would generate a substantial amount of power in close proximity to the state’s biggest demand centers. It can also help New York reach its stated goal of being powered by 30 percent renewable energy by 2015.

Governor Cuomo has long been a leader on climate change and clean energy issues. Hopefully he will continue in that manner by urging his agencies to significantly expand wind generation in the state. 

The first step is to make a major commitment to bring offshore wind energy online, by urging the Long Island Power Authority to move forward with a project that will generate more than 200 megawatts of offshore wind power.

But in order to make that happen, the Governor needs to know how important it is to New Yorkers.

Please sign our petition calling on Governor Cuomo to support offshore wind power. Doing so will help mitigate the effects of climate change, grow our economy, and make New York a leader in clean energy.

 

 


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