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East Hampton Residents At Odds Over Offshore Wind Plan

Michael Dwyer

Developers of an offshore wind farm that’s 30 miles off eastern Long Island have offered nearly $29 million to the Town of East Hampton. That’s in exchange for permission to run a cable transmission line underground using town property to a nearby substation.

Gordian Raacke heads Renewable Energy Long Island. Raacke said the town should ignore certain naysayers, and take the deal when the town board meets in January.

"Everything we build has some kind of an impact and can cause some kind of an inconvenience to someone. But in the bigger picture, the benefits of switching to carbon free energy, that I think on balance outweighs any negative impacts that we would see from a wind farm or a local cable running underground to an electrical substation,” Raacke said.

Raacke called it a win-win for East Hampton: clean power and 25 annual payments to mitigate potential traffic impacts from construction and to help the commercial fishing industry.

Meanwhile, a group of residents in Wainscott, Long Island, plan to start the formal process to incorporate as a village government in the new year.

That could allow them to have more of a say when dealing with offshore wind developers that want to run cables underneath Hamptons beaches.

The Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott formed in opposition to offshore wind developer Orsted and their proposal to land a transmission cable to shore in Wainscott. That’s how their South Fork Wind Farm, 30 miles off the coast of Montauk point, would bring power to Long Island.

Some Wainscott residents have been at odds with the Town of East Hampton since conversations began in 2018. Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said the developer will make a $29 million payment to benefit the community in exchange for granting of the easement, if all federal, state and local governments approve the project.

But the group says they should have more control over the town-run beach. Consultants estimate that if the village was to come into existence, it would need an $838,000 budget in its first year to operate its government and manage its beaches. The mayor and board of trustees would be elected volunteers.

Van Scoyoc told the Wainscott advisory committee earlier this month that he thought village incorporation would further divide the community. However, he said he would facilitate public hearings and a vote, if the petition was accurate and legal.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.