A Long Island Power Authority substation in Shinnecock was once considered a possible landing site for an ocean-based wind farm cable — and could conceivably come into play again. But not for a good while, and not the South Fork Wind Farm.
Last week The Independent reported LIPA plans to run an 138 kV high capacity underground cable 19 miles from Wainscott to its Canal substation in Shinnecock. Though a spokeswoman said there was no time frame for the project to begin, some money was set aside for it in the 2018 budget.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman revealed in an exclusive interview that the Canal substation was once considered a possible landing spot by Deepwater Wind, the parent company of South Fork Wind.
Schneiderman said he was asked by Deepwater to sign a non-disclosure clause for a Deepwater project in 2014. He said he didn’t recall if he signed, because the project was rejected by LIPA/PSEG. Schneiderman was a County legislator at the time.
“That proposal was completely different,” said Clint Plummer, vp/development, Deepwater. The South Fork Wind project, approved by LIPA/PSEG in 2016, was conceived for a completely different need. “LIPA needed power specifically at the East Hampton substation on Cove Hollow Road. The 2014 project had a larger set of goals,” Plummer added.
Deepwater is still hoping that East Hampton Town and the Town Trustees will give permission to bring the cable ashore on Beach Lane in Wainscott, which would allow South Fork Wind to formally apply for the state license, needed to make the project a reality.
Failing that, the company would look east for a landing spot in or near Napeague. “We talked to the state parks there,” Plummer said. The cable would then have to be run to the Cove Hollow station, either on LIRR land or under Montauk Highway. “Both are possibilities,” he added. There is precedent to use state parklands for a landing site -— the Neptune transmission system at Jones Beach State Park.
As for the cost of burying the cable under Montauk Highway, estimates furnished by opponents of the project are way off base, said Plummer. One critic, Wainscott resident Si Kinsella, put the cost at between $10 to $14 million per mile.
“There’s no basis in fact for that,” Plummer said, “We know what it costs; it’s nowhere near that much.”
Schneiderman said should a cable come into Shinnecock — the existing substation is near the Route 27 service road — he would ask the utilities to help fund projects beneficial to the town. “I would look at it as an opportunity to negotiate, maybe bury the power lines.”
Schneiderman said the benefits package that typically comes with an energy project of this magnitude could be used for “the rejuvenation of downtown Hampton Bays.” Though there is nothing planned for now, Plummer acknowledged, “in the future there might be some potential” for a Deepwater project in that neck of the woods.