New York Looks to Lead on Offshore Wind, Not Drilling

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bebeto Matthews / AP Photo


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Meanwhile, Alaska’s congressional delegation has backed offshore drilling in some places but wants local consultation before finalizing a plan.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s answer to federal designs to expand offshore drilling was Monday’s release of his state’s Offshore Wind Master Plan, which lays out the procurement of a minimum 800 megawatts of wind power over the next two years.

The strategy aims to corner an emerging U.S. market, which U.S. mayors just last week predicted would soon compete with fossil fuels thanks to technological advances and cities as its champions.

In 2016, Cuomo mandated the state generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and the 2.4 gigawatts of clean energy the plan provides for by that date would power 1.2 million homes.

"While the federal government continues to turn its back on protecting natural resources and plots to open up our coastline to drilling, New York is doubling down on our commitment to renewable energy and the industries of tomorrow," Cuomo said in the announcement. "We are drawing upon our world-class workforce, unmatched intellectual capital, physical infrastructure and financial institutions to develop this increasingly affordable clean energy source that creates good paying jobs while protecting Long Island's natural beauty and quality of life."

Offshore wind, as an industry, would create about 5,050 jobs and lead to $6 billion in public and private expenditures, according to one New York State Energy Research and Development Authority report. To that end, the plan oversees disbursement of $15 million for clean energy workforce training and port infrastructure.

The state intends to establish several technical working groups to assist with various aspects of offshore wind like jobs and supply chain, fishing, and environmental effects.

Public webinars are planned on Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. outlining next steps toward implementing the plan.

"Developing the nation's offshore wind resource is an unparalleled opportunity for New York to not only lead the nation in adoption of clean energy, but to reap the economic benefits of becoming a national hub for this promising industry,” Alicia Barton, the authority's president and CEO, said in a statement.

While New York looks to diversify its energy portfolio, Alaska’s congressional delegation supports offshore drilling in select areas.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, all Republicans, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday seeking confirmation the Chukchi, Beaufort and Cook Inlet planning areas would remain in his agency’s draft plan to increase lease sales through 2024.

While other officials scrambled to remove their states from consideration, all three Congress members applauded development along the outer continental shelf with a few caveats. Specifically, they sought to quash potential sales in the Hope Basin, Norton Basin, St. Matthew-Hall, Navarin Basin, Aleutian Basin, Bowers Basin, Aleutian Arc, St. George Basin, Shumagin, Kodiak and the Gulf of Alaska.

All three members stressed the importance of “consultation with local communities” before finalizing a plan.

“For far too long, arbitrary and unilateral executive actions have undermined the open process that Congress established through the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act,” their letter reads. “This has harmed states like Alaska, where tens of millions of acres of waters were previously closed without public input, consultation, or support.”

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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