Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) last week backed construction of almost 1.1GW of new gas-fired power and delayed a decision about investment in offshore wind-generated electricity.
A vote on new sources of electricity resulted in a decision by LIPA to negotiate two 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with gas generators. The decision paves the way for construction of a 706MW and a 377MW gas-fired power station. This is in addition to LIPA’s recent decision to buy up to 3.7GW of gas-fired power from existing supplier, National Grid.
Offshore wind developer, Deepwater Wind, was in the running as a potential new supplier. It sought to supply LIPA via its planned 900MW Deepwater Wind Energy Centre.
LIPA has its own plans to develop offshore wind capacity. Its 350-700MW LI-NYC project is being developed in partnership with New York Power Authority and Con Edison, and is earmarked for a site about 22km off the Rockaway Peninsula. The US Bureau of Energy Ocean Management is considering the developers’ lease application. Project finance has yet to be secured.
Announcing its decision to back new gas-fired capacity, LIPA insisted that it will issue a new call for bids to supply up to 280MW of “additional renewable energy supply, including offshore wind”.
“We can’t afford not to invest in renewable energy,” said LIPA vice president of environmental affairs, Michael Deering, commenting on the vote. He added: “However, the time, the projects and the price has to be right in order to continue to meet our on-island regulatory requirements and continue to keep prices stable for our customers.