New York Gov. Cuomo Pushes Ambitious Offshore Wind Energy Plan

Published March 14, 2018

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a comprehensive “New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan” to guide the development of 2.4 gigawatts of wind power by 2030.

The release of the plan on January 29 followed up on Cuomo’s January 3 State of the State address in which he announced plans to solicit bids for a total of at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind power production in 2018 and 2019.

These moves are components of New York’s Clean Energy Standard (CES), which requires 50 percent of the state’s electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Buffeted by Headwinds

Cuomo’s wind power plans have already hit strong headwinds.

In the past decade, more than 40 communities in New York have taken actions to reject or restrict wind farms. For instance, on September 12, 2017 the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization announced it opposed eight wind projects proposed for the northern part of the state.

Robert Bryce, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, says rural resistance to Cuomo’s energy plan is part of a national movement of grassroots resistance to wind energy.

“There is a huge backlash from rural governments against big wind all across upstate New York,” said Bryce. “It’s not just New York. Rural governments across the country are rejecting wind power.

“Since the beginning of 2018, six additional government entities within the state have moved to reject wind projects,” Bryce said.

Fight Moves to Waters

Bryce says Cuomo’s plans for offshore wind energy production are attributable in part to the public’s resistance to land-based wind power projects.

“Cuomo can’t achieve his wind goals onshore,” said Bryce. “Yet now, Cuomo is running into new problems offshore with fishers.”

In 2017, commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit to block a proposed offshore wind project by Norwegian energy company Statoil.

“The fishing industry is outgunned and out-moneyed by big wind,” Bryce said. “These fishermen are up against deep-pocketed foes.”

‘Economic and Social Justice Hypocrisy’

Robert Bradley Jr., CEO of the Institute for Energy Research, says Cuomo’s offshore wind plan is hypocritical and wasteful.

“It is economic and social-justice hypocrisy for Gov. Cuomo to ban free-market-driven onshore shale gas while pushing uber-expensive offshore wind power,” Bradley said. “The per-kilowatt-hour cost of offshore wind is much higher than the state and national average generation rate.

“New York state and California are the most energy-unfriendly states in the union,” said Bradley. “Intellectually suspect climate dogma comes before ratepayers and taxpayers in Cuomo’s alt-energy world.”

Matt Kelly ([email protected])¬†writes from Dallas, Texas.