Town discusses state-led renewable energy initiative

Town Supervisor Scott Russell is asking the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to present information to town board members about the new state-led renewable energy initiative, Offshore Wind Energy Project. 

The state project would supply 2,400 megawatts of clean power for the state, enough to power 1.2 million homes, according to the program. The project aims to support the state’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of New York’s electricity needs are met by renewable sources by 2030.

Mr. Russell met with representatives from NYSERDA a week ago to get a better grasp on the project. He said the group has already started constructing multiple wind plants throughout New Jersey and Long Island.

“This is something of regional importance, not just Southold importance,” he said. 

Mr. Russell said he is concerned that the state may wait too long to obtain proper community feedback before proceeding with the project. 

“I do not want them to wait for a public hearing,” he said. “I’m certainly in support of renewable energy, but this needs to be more thoroughly explained to the public in a way we can all understand.” 

Councilman Bill Ruland agreed: If people understand the purpose of the energy plants, he said, they may accept the changes in the town. 

“If it’s explained that there will be disruptions in certain areas, but it’s known it will sustain for years and years, they will compromise,” Mr. Ruland said. 

One of the listed benefits of the project is that it could provide construction, manufacturing and operation jobs in Southold.

Mr. Russell said he believes the proposal offers an economic opportunity for the town. 

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