March 24, 2017 — As a concept, ocean-based wind-energy harvesting is gaining momentum on Long Island – but don’t expect completely smooth sailing for the increasingly popular alternative-generation movement.
Although wind farms are rising around the globe and contributing ever-larger percentages of the electricity flowing through international energy grids, the “green” projects often face stiff opposition – ironically, from environmentalists, and often from commercial fishermen who say the ocean-based platforms disrupt natural breeding grounds and threaten their livelihoods.
Long Island anglers, for instance, are paying close attention to a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, aimed at stopping wind-farm developments off the New York and New Jersey coasts.
Despite the rough seas, Stony Brook University’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center is jumping in with both feet. The AERTC is hooking the imminent launch of its Advanced Energy Center Symposium Series – a collection of next-generation energy discussions and workshops uniting industry experts, government officials and assorted stakeholders – on a day-long May 5 event focused on offshore wind, slated to be held at the Montauk Yacht Club.
While offshore wind interests have made progress on Long Island – including LIPA’s January approval of what would (at least temporarily) be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, to be located 30 miles off Montauk by Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind – the AERTC is clearly wading into disputed waters.
The May 5 conference is akin to Montauk being swallowed into “the belly of the beast,” according to Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, who said placing wind turbines in the middle of “traditional, historically productive fishing grounds” is a “recipe for disaster.”