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First turbine at Long Island offshore wind farm now operational

First turbine at Long Island offshore wind farm now operational
First turbine at Long Island offshore wind farm now operational 02:31

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. -- The nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind project is churning out clean renewable energy as the wind farm off of Montauk is nearing completion.

The first of the giant turbines is spinning, feeding the grid that powers East Hampton, where Town Hall was filled with celebrants of a historic milestone.

"Today, some of this electricity could be coming from that offshore wind turbine," said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO, Americas Region at Orsted.

A decade in the making, South Fork Wind is 35 miles off Montauk. Within weeks, 12 turbines will generate power for 70,000 homes -- the equivalent of taking 60,000 carbon-producing cars off the road for decades.

We showed you the turbines under construction in Rhode Island. Now, the cable is sending green energy under the ocean floor to East Hampton.

It's a new chapter for the nation.

"This is a big day. We're celebrating the first offshore wind turbine to be built in federal waters, the first in New York state, but the first of what will be thousands that will eventually power half of Long Island," Long Island Power Authority CEO Tom Falcone said.

The town of East Hampton was the first in New York to embrace offshore wind in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, when the threat of climate change and sea level rise became a reality.

"To be here today, 11 years later, on the front lines of leading this country into a new clean energy future with offshore wind is truly, truly a great day," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

It's crossing the finish line amid challenges. Orsted just terminated two projects in New Jersey, citing interest rates and supply chain delays.

Community opposition killed Equinor's plan to  land a wind cable off of Long Beach in Nassau.

Orsted says it's not giving up on the East Coast.

"We are evaluating our options in New Jersey. We still own the leases down there, so it doesn't mean that we won't eventually maybe restart projects down there," Hardy said.

Advocates say they're not deterred.

"It's certainly true that these projects are struggling, but at the end of the day, our commitment and certainly the governor's commitment remains firm," said Doreen Harris, president of the New York State Research and Development Authority.

Their hope is East Hampton will be a model.

"It will demonstrate the good quality jobs that this industry can create. It will demonstrate that the environmental impacts that everyone's concerned about are negligible," said Fred Zalcman, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance.

New York's goal is zero emissions electricity by 2040.

Thursday, Orstead is escorting community leaders and members of the media on an ocean ferry to see the first spinning turbine off of Montauk.

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