From: Frank Eltman, Associated Press
Published August 24, 2007 08:21 AM

Chairman of Long Island, NY, Utility Says Plans Scrapped to Build Ocean Wind Park

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- Long Island's utility company intends to dump plans to build a $700 million wind energy park in the Atlantic Ocean, a top official said.


"It's just too expensive," Long Island Power Authority Chairman Kevin Law told The Associated Press. "It's not going to work. This is an economically based decision. We didn't even have to consider environmental or aesthetic concerns."


The utility's board of directors will meet next month to officially vote on scrapping the project.


Initially popular with environmental activists, politicians and residents, the project, which was to include 40 turbines in an 8-square-mile area, has lost support because of construction costs and concerns that it would mar the landscape of Long Island's south shore beaches.


It is the second offshore wind project to be scrapped in recent months. A developer in South Texas called off construction of about 170 turbines there after determining it no longer made economic sense to proceed. That developer said building an offshore farm would have been more than double the cost of one on land.


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Plans are proceeding for an offshore wind farm in Massachusetts, where a company called Cape Wind hopes to build 130 windmills in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind has not said how much that project would cost. Developers in Delaware also are planning an offshore wind farm.


Original estimates for construction on the Long Island wind farm were between $150 and $200 million. In 2004, FPL Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power & Light, won the right to build the project with a bid of $356 million, pending regulatory approvals. The latest estimates put the cost at $697 million.


A call to FPL seeking comment was not immediately returned, but the company told Newsday it had not received official word from the utility that the project was being scrapped.


In a recent report, the Department of Energy said the nation's wind-power capacity increased by 27 percent in 2006, and that the U.S. had the fastest-growing wind-power capacity in the world in 2005 and 2006. Still, despite wind farms now operating in 36 states, wind accounts for less than 1 percent of the U.S. power supply.


Source: Associated Press


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