Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Rise Light & Power LLC announced on Tuesday that it will invest in an offshore wind facility so as to turn its Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens, New York City’s largest fossil fuel power plant, into a clean energy hub.
The area around Ravenswood, mostly home to low-income minorities, is known as “asthma alley.”
Rise Light & Power CEO Clint Plummer also pledged that the project would commit to “the just transition and upskilling of the Local 1-2 UWUA union workers at Ravenswood through training programs and job opportunities associated with the project.”
The offshore wind farm would send its electricity to a 1.3 gigawatt circuit at Ravenswood, allowing the closure of a 400 megawatt fossil fuel power plant that is some 65 years old. An HVDC conducting cable from the wind farm would come ashore at the Ravenswood facility and plug into existing transmission lines out to consumers, minimizing the need for new infrastructure.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr., said, “Queens is all too familiar with the devastating impacts of climate change, supercharged by our unchecked use of fossil fuels. From stronger storms flooding our communities to higher rates of asthma in Western Queens, the health of our neighborhoods has come under greater threat every day.”
Bloomsberg: “Offshore Wind’s Arrival in the US”
The area of Ravenswood and Astoria in Queens is the site for generating 45% of New York City’s power, but has suffered from the consequent pollution, having the worst air quality in the five boroughs.
The Biden administration cleared the way for 480,000 acres of federally-owned ocean to be leased for offshore wind farms. Biden would like to see offshore wind generate 30 gigawatts of electricity in only 8 years. As tall an order as that might be, seasoned observers have suggested that the goal is too modest, and that the U.S. can potentially do much better.
According to Adnan Durakovic at Offshore Wind, a consortium including Orsted has already developed New York’s first major offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind. It will come on line sometime this year, generating 130 megawatts. Another project is also in train, Sunrise Wind, which will generate almost a gigawatt of electricity.
Durakovic says that a third project, Beacon Wind 2, will generate 1,360 megawatts of electricity, enough to power a million homes. It is backed by BP and Equinor. Beacon Wind has bought Astoria Gas Lines and will turn it into a transmission hub for the offshore wind electricity thus generated, in a way similar to what will be done at Ravenswood.
Offshore wind farms often have a steadier output than onshore facilities, because winds blow more steadily and heavily out at sea than on land.