Matt Kearns, of North Babylon, is on a mission to bring renewable energy to Long Island step by step—literally.Mr. Kearns, 37, a longtime Sierra Club volunteer, will run 108 miles from Montauk Point to the Long Beach Boardwalk on June 14 in the name of offshore wind, traveling through communities hard hit by Superstorm Sandy. The run, which he plans to complete in one day, is meant to bring attention to the need to invest in offshore wind farms, none of which exist in the United States as of now.
“Long Island has an incredible opportunity to be a leader by building one of the nation’s first offshore wind farms,” said Lisa Dix, a senior representative for the Sierra Club. “Matt is running through Sandy-affected areas to raise awareness that our geography can threaten our electric, but it also provides us with one of the best solutions.”
The choice to run from Montauk to Long Beach is calculated, said Kim Teplitzky, a media representative from the Sierra Club. The two points represent the areas with the most offshore wind potential because of their physical location and because their coasts sit in areas that have been deemed usable for the project by the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, which oversees federal waters.
“We’re hoping this gets the governor’s attention,” said Mr. Kearns during an interview at the Montauk Lighthouse. “I think Long Islanders are ready for offshore wind.”
Mr. Kearns said he has been running long-distance for about four years, but that this will be the first time he’s running 100 miles. He plans to stop at various rest points along his route, which is tentatively a straight shot from Montauk to Long Beach via Route 27.
“I want to go right through the main streets of these towns,” said Mr. Kearns.
The goal, he added, is to get Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attention with the hopes that he and other legislators in New York State will encourage investment in offshore wind, as opposed to continually investing in fossil fuels.
“Right now, there’s an over-reliance on fossil fuel,” Mr. Kearns said. “And that needs to be changed.”
Ms. Dix added that another advantage of using offshore wind, in addition to its being a clean source of energy, is how well it works with solar energy.
“Wind is actually the strongest during peak demand,” she said. “Solar energy obviously works best during the day when the sun is shining, and offshore wind works best in the late afternoon and evening.”
The combination of the two, said Ms. Dix, would entirely take Long Island out of the vulnerable position it is currently in while relying on fossil fuels.
“Wind energy is zero cost in terms of fuel,” she said, noting the skyrocketing price of electricity this past winter. “All of the volatility that comes along with those fuels, wind energy doesn’t have.”
Mr. Kearns said he plans to leave Montauk Point between 1 and 2 a.m. on June 14 and arrive that evening in Long Beach, where a rally in support of offshore wind will take place.