A Deeper Look

This week, with the publication of Kevin Gray’s in-depth look at Deepwater Wind’s proposed South Fork Wind Farm, The Independent launches a new initiative: the publication of magazine-style features focusing on the major issues affecting the East End.

Under the direction of editorial consultant Will Bourne, we will on occasion commission freelance writers to tackle pieces that allow us to step back and present a more global view of important topics than what would normally appear on the pages of this newspaper.

Since it was approved by the Long Island Power Authority in early 2017, Deepwater’s plan to build 12 to 15 wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean about 30 miles southwest of Montauk has been praised as a green-energy bonanza that will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 homes and enable East Hampton Town to meet its goal of providing all the energy used in town through sustainable means.

But critics, including fishermen and environmentalists, have raised serious concerns about both the financial and environmental impacts of the project, arguing that the project represents the beginning of the industrialization of much of the Atlantic coast and the energy Deepwater produces will cost ratepayers more than it should.

We also delve into the allure of sustainable energy for deep-pocketed investors like D.E. Shaw, the investment company that owns Deepwater, as well as the political entanglements that have resulted in alliances between environmentalists, investors, political donors, and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Deepwater is still awaiting final approval from East Hampton Town officials to learn whether it will be given permission to bring its cable ashore on Beach Lane in Wainscott. The project must still be reviewed by the state’s Public Service Commission before work can begin on the multi-million-dollar wind farm. In the meantime, after reading our piece, we hope our readers will be better equipped to understand the ramifications of this major infrastructure project off our shores.