Culture, Environment, and Economy

Coastal Communities

Due to their significant distance from the shoreline, most modern offshore wind turbines are not highly visible from land at sea-level during the day. At night some turbine lighting may be visible depending on the distance and weather conditions. One objective of the Master Plan is to further reduce visual impacts through siting and technology choices.

Visual and cultural impacts can result from all types of development. Long Island has a rich history deeply shaped by the ocean and its coastline. The maritime culture and economy have dotted the region’s coastline and ocean bottom with historical markers. Those cultural resources, including historic ship wrecks, sites, and buildings, must be protected and preserved for generations to come. In 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) conducted an environmental assessment of offshore wind development on the Atlantic outer continental shelf offshore New York. The assessment found that impacts to cultural resources within the limited area of the study would be minimal and can be mitigated through smart siting and responsible development. This study will be expanded, and community engagement with local residents and local tribal nations will further help to identify and minimize potential impacts to cultural resources.

  • Planned Activities (coming soon)
  • Ongoing Activities (coming soon)
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New York’s Coastal Environment

Compared with conventional energy generation, offshore wind, like other renewable energy technologies, provides numerous indirect environmental benefits that are good for New York residents, wildlife, and natural landscapes. These benefits include significant reductions in carbon dioxide, air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and water consumption for power plant cooling.

On the other hand, offshore wind, like all renewable energy technologies, raises some concerns namely direct impacts on wildlife during construction and/or operation. Therefore, New York State must develop this resource responsibly and work with federal and State agencies, fishery management councils, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body, environmental groups, and other experts to minimize any potential impacts.

Maritime and Fishing Communities

New York State’s ocean economy has long benefitted from robust maritime commercial and recreational activities, including fishing, sand mining for beach nourishment, offshore aquaculture, sailing, diving and whale watching, among many others.

Participants in these industries have an economic interest in any potential changes to the ocean from new development. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the nation’s third-largest port, with large ocean-going vessels using three major sea corridors in and out of New York Harbor. Additional vessel traffic follows less formal trade routes. These non-regulated corridors are primarily closer to shore and used by tug and barge operators to bring goods from port to port. At the same time, fishing vessels operate in, near, and between these traffic lanes and corridors. Offshore wind development must allow for the continued efficient and safe operation of vessels in the area.

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  • Ongoing Activities (coming soon)
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New Coastal Job Opportunities

New York State is uniquely positioned to realize the significant economic benefits of offshore wind development. Specifically, the State has one of the largest ports on the East Coast of the U.S. and one of the most experienced and varied workforces in the nation. One of the major benefits of offshore wind development will be local job creation.

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  • Ongoing Activities (coming soon)
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Energy and Grid Infrastructure

Interconnection in the context of offshore wind refers to linking a new offshore generating facility via an undersea cable to the New York State electric transmission system. Offshore wind interconnection challenges are diverse, but are generally related to the limitations and constraints of the existing grid. Many of these constraints, such as integrating large quantities of a variable resource into the grid while maintaining system reliability and power quality, can be managed by effective forecasting, power system operations and controls, and learning from the integration of onshore wind energy in the State and elsewhere. Other challenges, like physical capacity restraints within the existing grid, pose greater barriers for offshore wind development.

As with many areas in the State, the electric grid in New York City and on Long Island is aging and constrained. Potential offshore wind projects in the Atlantic off the coast of New York State are located close to major load (electricity demand) centers, and are expected to produce power during the peak or highest periods of demand. As a result, offshore wind projects, along with their associated transmission and interconnection investments, can provide value to the electric system and enhance its reliability and resiliency.

  • Planned Activities (coming soon)
  • Ongoing Activities (coming soon)
  • Completed Studies (coming soon)