Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Project Could Surpass 700 MW

A new challenger has thrown its hat in the ring to be the first offshore wind project in North America. If the plan goes through, it could also be the largest single wind project on the continent.

Last week, Toronto, Canada-based Trillium Power Energy Corporation announced the plan. The site, to be known as Trillium Power Wind 1, will consist of up to 142 of the latest multi-megawatt wind turbines and will have a total installed capacity of up to 710 MW — enough clean, renewable power to satisfy the electricity needs of more than 200,000 homes. News of the project comes amidst an increasingly caustic atmosphere in the U.S. where offshore wind has been stymied by local opposition and faced repeated legislative attacks from U.S. lawmakers. This has particularly been the case with the 420 MW Cape Wind project proposed off the coast of Massachusetts. Cape Wind was the first proposal for an offshore wind farm in North American but new proposals such as Trillium’s bid may ultimately see construction first. “The project, which is in very shallow waters 15 kilometers offshore from Prince Edward County, is unique for Ontario in that other wind power developments being planned or under construction are on hilltop or shoreline locations,” said John Kourtoff, President and CEO of Trillium Power. “However, going offshore takes advantage of excellent wind conditions while considerably reducing the potential impact of the environmental footprint.” Kourtoff said the project has all of the attributes necessary for successful development: an excellent wind resource measured over 36 years, sufficient transmission, positive environmental qualities, an experienced engineering and development team, and solid financing and support. Kourtoff also explained how a number of factors in Ontario have made this project possible. This includes the policy of the present provincial government that encourages the development of renewable energy in Ontario by entering into long purchase power agreements (PPA) and the policy of the present government to allow the registration of Crown Land for the development of wind generation, which up until 2004 was not possible. The development of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has also been helpful through its strategic and long-term planning. Kourtoff said that with the advent of the OPA, once a long-term plan is decided, there is an entity able to enter into long-term PPAs with private sector generators. “Recently instituted changes have created a regulatory climate for the development of renewable energy in Ontario that is the best it has ever been,” said Kourtoff. “This has provided Trillium Power with the confidence to move this unique project forward at this time. In return, the Trillium Power Wind 1 site will put Ontario, and Canada, on the world wind map in a very major way.” The company expects the development of the Trillium Power Wind 1 site to create significant economic spin-offs in manufacturing, construction and services, both locally and throughout Ontario. In addition, its development will assist Ontario in improving its air quality while at the same time helping Canada meet its Kyoto reduction targets for greenhouse gases, treaty obligations for the reduction of mercury and other hazardous emissions as well as reducing smog-causing pollutants such as nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxides. Trillium Power Energy Corporation, a privately owned company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, is focused on the development of unique renewable and alternative energy solutions. The Trillium Power management team has developed and operated waterpower facilities in Ontario since the 1980s and has been involved in other major installations around the world.