An outpouring of support from lawmakers and environmentalists for an offshore wind farm 30 miles from Montauk appears to have been decisive in helping push the politically connected developer's project to LIPA's list of finalists.
Critics of the process are concerned that political considerations and lobbying may have eclipsed less-expensive alternatives to the $1.5 billion wind farm proposed by Deepwater Wind of Rhode Island.
LIPA staff examining the economics of dozens of green-energy proposals in a bid request had been leaning against the proposed 35-turbine wind farm because of its costs, Newsday has reported. The staff's recommendations favored more solar power, and it's far from certain that LIPA will move ahead with the wind farm.
But Deepwater Wind was notified on Nov. 17 that it was a finalist in the bidding. The company had until Dec. 5 to submit its "best and final offer."
"Certainly it's disturbing as a bidder into the LIPA process to see the lowest-cost bid set aside for the highest cost bid for reasons that are unclear," said Bill Moore, president of Hudson Energy, which worked with another firm to propose a...