For ‘Green’ Energy

Consumption of electricity on the South Fork is expected to continue to grow

The South Fork could, within just a few years, see a significant amount of its electricity generated by offshore windmills. Potentially, this is good news for reducing the carbon emissions associated with global warming as well as other forms of atmospheric pollution. But it is far from a sure thing.

Consumption of electricity on the South Fork is expected to continue to grow, outpacing population increases, with most of the demand — as much as 60 percent — coming from residential summertime air-conditioning. If there are no new local sources, new high-voltage transmission lines would be required. Considering the controversy last time new lines were run in East Hampton, the power company might have good reason, beyond cost savings and the environment, to seek alternatives.

Several companies, including Deepwater Wind, have submitted proposals to the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island for generation and load-reduction projects. Deepwater would put windmills about 30 miles southeast of Montauk, which would be connected to two battery facilities, one in Montauk, the other in Wainscott. Other proposals also are pending to help PSEG meet peak power demands; Deepwater is just the first to make its bid public.

In supporting letters to LIPA and PSEG, an ad-hoc consortium of environmental and civic organizations has strongly argued for offshore wind power. Sustainable projects like Deepwater’s, it said, would ensure reliable, clean energy without requiring new, dirty, and expensive fossil-fuel plants. This is a compelling argument. The very real threat of rising sea level caused by climate change should put “green” electricity at the top of the selection process as bids are considered.