New York and other Atlantic Coast states accounted for almost 30% of electricity consumption in 2019. Offshore wind development in these states could generate almost 4,600 terawatts per hour, four times their energy consumption in 2019. (Adobe Stock)

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By Edwin J. Viera

July 20, 2022   

Amid record-setting heat waves and increased energy usage, New York is looking to offshore wind developments for a cleaner energy source.

The state has 50 so-called “peaker plants,” oil and gas-fired power plants operating when there is a larger energy demand.

The Town of East Hampton has been working since the mid-2010s to get its power elsewhere. Offshore wind energy should be a reality in 2024, with five turbines built 35 miles off Long Island.

Sylvia Overby, a member of the East Hampton Town Board, said the development is much-needed.

“The East End is growing, and we’ve had growth in the last ten years, between the census,” Overby observed. “We know that there’s more demand for electricity. And this is hopefully going to help us, as a township, meet our goal of 100% renewable energy.”

The project has not been without controversy, as some residents were worried about a cable being installed on an active beach area, albeit 35 feet underground. New York State could potentially generate almost 296 terawatts per hour through offshore wind developments.

While there were hopes for East Hampton to be carbon-neutral by now, they are still working on it, Overby acknowledged. She understands the town’s position as a coastal community makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but hopes it can make East Hampton a guide for other similarly affected communities.

“We want to be ready to help out other communities,” Overby emphasized. “To kind of be the leader and show people the way that it can be done, and that we can become as much free of fossil fuels as we can, in this era that we live in.”

Aside from offshore wind, East Hampton is looking at other ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Overby noted the projects include using LED streetlights and installing electric heating and cooling systems for municipally-owned buildings.