The seven northeastern U.S. states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have all set ambitious emissions reduction goals and renewable energy targets that will be difficult to meet. For example, New York has the goal of getting 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030.
For many decades, hydroelectric dams were the top source of renewable energy in the United States. But for the first time ever, by the end of last year, installed wind power capacity in the U.S. outpaced hydroelectric capacity.
The Board of Trustees of the Long Island Power Authority has voted to approve the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, which is also the first offshore wind farm in New York. The South Fork Wind Farm, located 30 miles southeast of Montauk, New York, will be a 90 megawatt facility that will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 Long Island homes and help meet increasing electricity demand on the South Fork of Long Island.
Last year was a big year for progress in the U.S. power sector. Renewable energy provided nearly 17% of the country’s electricity, up from 13.7% in 2015. The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. opened off the coast of Rhode Island. And most significantly, carbon emissions from the power sector continued to decline and reached the lowest levels in nearly 25 years.
Wind turbines have been getting bigger and bigger over the years. The reason is that bigger blades produce more power and give much more bang for the buck. A big part of the plummeting price of wind power is the increasing amount of power produced by each turbine.
Offshore wind power can supply a significant amount of energy to our hungry grid. In many places in Europe, it is doing just that. Here in US, it is just starting to be used in some places in the Northeast, with the first small offshore wind farm coming on line off the coast of Rhode Island.
The U.S. has just turned on its first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. In the meantime, offshore wind continues to grow by leaps and bounds in Europe. Wind energy in the European Union accounts for 12% of its electricity supply. Until 2011, offshore wind comprised only 5-10% of the newly-installed wind energy capacity; now it about one third of the new installations.
The Cuomo Administration recently released the New York State Offshore Wind Blueprint, a plan to advance the development of offshore wind along New York’s coastline.
Europe has embraced offshore wind power as a major contributor to its electricity needs for a long time. As of June, there was a total of 3,344 offshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of over 11.5 gigawatts of power connected in European waters in 82 wind farms located in 11 different countries and providing power to millions of people.