Take that, Hamptons one-percenters!
A state commission has unanimously approved a wind-farm developer’s plan to bury a 138,000-volt electric cable under the beach in tony Wainscott — bad news for wealthy neighbors who have fought the project, including actress Edie Falco and Estee Lauder billionaire Ronald Lauder.
The Public Service Commission’s four-member vote, reported in 27east, is the next step toward the completion of the $2 billion South Fork Wind Farm.
The project will provide power to 70,000 Long Island homes, and while its 15 wind turbines will be located 35 miles off Montauk, its underground power line will run 30 feet under Wainscott’s beach, traveling 4 miles north to a substation in Cove Hollow.
Neighbors Falco, Lauder, banker Daniel Neidich and former “Real Housewives of New York” star Barbara Kavovit are among those who signed a 2018 petition opposing the cable.
They say they don’t oppose the wind-power project itself — just the noise and disruption of burying the transmission line and what they claim will be lasting environmental hazards. They want the cable rerouted farther east, in Amagansett.
But “nothing in the record supports disrupting the joint proposal in favor of any of the proposed alternatives,” countered Anthony Belsito, the administrative law judge who oversaw a two-year PSC review process that proceeded Thursday’s vote.
“Based on the record, the proposed alternatives are either likely not viable due to the inability to obtain necessary property rights or would increase overall impacts relative to the project as proposed,” he told 27East.
PSC member John Howard said, “This order marks a milestone in New York’s bold initiative to decarbonize it’s electric grid, through the development of offshore wind resources,”
The commission expects to be presented with several similar cable landing agreements in the coming years, Howard added, as other, much larger, wind-farm projects come up for approvals.
“While we have years of work ahead of us, today’s approval … moves New York closer to its goal,” Howard said.
Opponents to the cable, who are calling themselves the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, are continuing to challenge the easement that East Hampton Town granted project developer Orstead in January, allowing the Danish company to bury cable under town beaches and roads.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is still reviewing the application for the construction of the turbines themselves.
Orstead hopes to begin construction in the spring of 2022 and to have the wind farm online in late 2023, 27East reported.
Reps for Edie Falco and the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott could not immediately be reached for comment.