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Offshore wind power off Long Island?

The Long Island Power Authority expects to announce in the next several weeks the company it selected to build the region’s -- and possibly the nation’s -- first offshore wind power project.
/ Source: Reuters

The Long Island Power Authority expects to announce in the next several weeks the company it selected to build the region’s -- and possibly the nation’s -- first offshore wind power project.

LIPA spokesman Michael Lowndes said he could not say for certain when the state-owned power authority would name the winning developer.

“This is part of our clean energy initiative. We already have some land-based turbines. We think the time is right for an offshore wind farm,” Lowndes said.

LIPA last year filed papers seeking the development of an offshore wind farm that could be operational by late 2007.

The wind farm, which could rise more than 425 feet above the surface of the water, would be built no closer than 2.5 nautical miles off the south shore of Long Island near Jones Beach, about 40 miles east of Manhattan.

LIPA said it was seeking a developer to build, own, operate and maintain — for a 20-year period — an offshore wind farm consisting of between 25 to 50 turbines producing about 100 to 140 megawatts of electricity.

One megawatt is enough power to serve about 1,000 homes.

Although LIPA would not identify the bidders, industry sources said FPL Energy, one of the nation’s leading wind power producers, was a leading contender.

LIPA, which serves about 1.1 million customers on Long Island, said it would be responsible for connecting the offshore wind farm to its land-based electric transmission grid via a cable that would run from an offshore substation to a land-based LIPA substation.