On Thursday, March 18, the New York Public Service Commission green-lighted a critical component of New York State’s first offshore wind farm. The South Fork Wind Farm will be located 35 miles off the coast of Long Island, and will provide enough electricity to power 70,000 homes. On Thursday the commission granted a certificate for the transmission cable that will bring the electricity from the wind turbines to a landing site in the Town of East Hampton. The decision was celebrated by a group of South Fork residents called Win with South Fork Wind (“Win with Wind”), which has advocated for the project for years.
Win with Wind is a client of the Renewable Energy Legal Defense Initiative, a joint effort by the Sabin Center and the law firm of Arnold & Porter to provide pro bono legal counsel to groups and individuals who support renewable energy projects in their communities. The initiative represented Win With Wind in litigation before the public service commission to advocate for the project. Following the commission’s approval of the transmission cable, the facility must also receive a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management before construction can begin.
New York State critically needs offshore wind energy. The state cannot meet its statutorily mandated renewable energy targets without significant offshore wind resources. Following the 2019 adoption of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a minimum of 70% of statewide electric generation must be supplied by renewable energy by 2030, and 100% must be derived from zero-emission sources by 2040. The statute also requires the development of at least 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind electricity generation by 2035—up from zero today. As the first offshore wind facility in New York and the largest in the country, the South Fork Wind Farm will set an important precedent.