Our more detailed knowledge of Deepwater’s proposal is only now coming to light because federal rules forced the company to reveal more (but still not all) of its previously hidden plans. Deepwater in its late October filings with the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM):
- Divulged it now would run powerlines twice as powerful on Wainscott Beach, Beach Lane beach and other local Wainscott roads than originally communicated. Deepwater subtly amended its original filing to:
- Double the capacity of its ‘export’ line: It will now be 230,000 volts, rather than its originally communicated 138,000 volts; and
- Double the onshore lines: It wants to run two 230,000-volt lines, so 460,000 volts total, throughout Wainscott;
To put that in perspective:
- The new voltage is equivalent to having extra-high voltage (EHV) overhead power lines running just beneath the surface. EHV-classified lines start at 345,000 volts and are used for long distance, very-high power transmission; and
- These high-voltage cables have the capacity to deliver 8X more electricity than can be generated by the planned and communicated 90-megawatt wind farm;
2. Admitted for the first time it will need to dig at least 20 permanent vaults the size of ocean shipping containers (the smallest of which is 26’4” x 9’4” x 10’) throughout Wainscott. For example, its construction plans show that two of these massive vaults alone will be in front of our beloved Lisa and Bill’s Farm Stand;
3. Doubled the size of the project by installing 15 turbines of 12 megawatts each, rather than 6 megawatt turbines. This means that Deepwater is plans to build between a 130 MW to 180 MW wind farm, not the 90 MW wind farm that we were told during the many public meetings; and
4. Demonstrated that its Hither Hills route is superior to its desired profit-maximizing Beach Lane plan.
We have been misled.
It has also become apparent that this ‘project’ is part of an overall industrialization of Wainscott. PSEG Long Island formally said this week that the current windfarm is not solely for the benefit of East Hampton (despite what Supervisor Peter van Scoyoc said at a Wainscott Community Advisory Committee meeting this summer, “This is for us,” as he justified the overall project). The Long Island Power Authority revealed in its 2017 budget that it needs to build another electric substation in Wainscott. Now Deepwater this week admitted it planned to expand the wind farm far beyond its current footprint (New York State this week started to solicit bids for new offshore wind lease areas that are 2X to 9X Deepwater’s current plan. Guess where all those power lines will run through?).
Hopefully our elected representatives will now put a stop to this industrialization of Wainscott. Remember, they were already deeply divided this summer when they had half the information from Deepwater we now have obtained. The Town Board barely approved (a highly divided vote 3-2 in July) an intent to grant an easement to Deepwater for Beach Lane beach without this fuller set of information. The separate Town Trustees have not yet indicated formally where they stand on the issue. All local and federal authorities here have another viable option with Hither Hills, which is far better by Deepwater’s own admission (but which costs its own private investors more).