Offshore Wind Energy Proposed for Great Lakes

Following the release of offhsore wind development guidelines last week by President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, New York Power Authority (NYPA) president and CEO Richard Kessel announced a major public-private initiative for the potential development of wind power projects in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

NYPA released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to initiate efforts to develop offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes. A Request for Proposals (RFP) to examine technical issues related to the viability of such projects is expected to be released before the end of the month.

To carry out the initiative known as the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, NYPA, with the support of wind power proponents including National Grid, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, state and local environmental organizations, wind power developers and the University of Buffalo, is gathering a wide range of environmental, economic development, technical, financial and other information to serve as the foundation for the possible installation of wind power projects by one or more private wind power developers, sized to a minimum of 120 megawatts.

The first step in the initiative was taken when NYPA issued the RFEI for environmental, economic development, technical, operational, socio-economic, financial and other information from the wind power industry. This information will assist NYPA in determining the feasibility of taking the next step of preparing a wind power development RFP which, if issued, would be expected to result in high-quality proposals for the construction of wind generating projects.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) welcomed the announcement.

“This is a great sign for offshore wind energy in the U.S.,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “As we seek to dramatically expand wind energy, both on- and offshore, it is vital that we commit to long-term stable policies such as the Renewable Electricity Standard to allow the market to reach its full potential and enable businesses to build new factories and create new jobs.”

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