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Energy Officials Looking To Ease Concerns Over Long Island's Offshore Wind Farm

JONES BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A wind turbine project off Long Island is considered the largest offshore wind power infusion in North America, but there is concern and state leaders are trying to ease fears.

"How do you feel about wind farms off Long Island?" CBS2's Jennifer McLogan asked local residents.

"Great, good all for it," one person said.

"What's it going to do to the fishing grounds?" another local asked.

"I'd rather see wind turbines offshore than the pollution," a resident argued.

"It is an eyesore looking at them in the water," a local countered.

Long Islanders want specifics and public meetings are now underway regarding New York's vision for a fleet of offshore wind turbines.

CBS2 has learned they will be built 30 miles east of Montauk and another 15 miles from Jones Beach.

"There are concerns about fish spawning and bird migration," McLogan told Doreen Harris of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

"Offshore wind can co-exist with fishing and with environment interests," Harris said.

"If they are 15 miles offshore I want to know can you see them from the beach?" one Long Islander asked.

"The height of the turbines would be about a quarter of the size of your thumbnail if you extended your arm fully," Harris explained.

Danish and Norwegian companies are under contract with the state. Environmentalists predict conventional power plants will eventually idle and energy costs may initially bump minimally and then drop.

"If it reduces the electric bill, I'm all for that," one person said.

There are scheduled to be 1,700 megawatts of wind in place by 2024.

"These projects alone can power over a million homes," Harris added.

"Ships coming by, will they crash into these things?" McLogan asked the energy official.

"So the projects do have nightlights," Harris said.

Navigational lights on the bottom won't be visible from shore and if aircraft fly near the lights illuminate but then quickly turn off.

The SUNY college system will soon offer a degree from its Offshore Training Institute, calling for renewable energy scientists, wind turbine mechanics, managers, and technicians.

The governor says 10,000 new jobs will be created from this green initiative.

Another question and answer session is being held in Long Beach Thursday night.

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