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Cuomo starts master plan for wind power off LI coast

ALBANY _ The Cuomo administration on Thursday started creating a master plan to harness some of the world’s strongest offshore winds.

The state’s Long Island Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority have identified six potential wind energy areas for New York, including one that would stretch across the length of the Hamptons.

The Cuomo administration, however, said no decisions on locating wind farms have yet been made.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the energy planning will include input from utilities, environmentalists, groups, coastal communities, commercial fishermen and the maritime industry. The state’s Offshore Wind Master Plan will be due by the end of 2017.

Massive, towering turbines already in place in several upstate areas have been strongly opposed by some community groups as damaging to birds, the natural flow of wind and an eyesore for nearby residents.

But many environmental groups support wind power as part of a cleaner energy future that will reduce the use of fossil fuels to operate power plants to supply the state’s energy grid. Cuomo has called for half of the state’s energy needs to be supplied by cleaner energy by 2030.

“By developing a viable offshore wind energy source, we will continue to provide New Yorkers with clean, affordable power and lay the foundation for a thriving clean energy economy,” Cuomo said.

Kevin Law of the Long Island Association said the state blueprint “should lay the groundwork to finally get an off shore wind farm built off the coast of Long Island.”

Law said the master plan should accelerate the Long Island Power Authority’s decision to approve a project off the coast of Montauk and a larger project that Law proposed in 2009 to be located 16 miles off Long Beach.

“These projects will be good for our environment and our economy and could position Long Island to become the center for clean energy jobs associated with the off shore wind industry,” Law said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is also concerned about potentially placing large offshore wind farms along the Atlantic Ocean’s outer continental shelf. That could increase the risk of vessel collisions and could force ships to take less safe routes, a Coast Guard Study found.

Soon after the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held a task force meeting in New York at which its director called a New York wind farm her “highest priority.”

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