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World's First Freshwater Wind Farm Coming to New York?

With all of the attention being paid to where the United States’ first offshore wind farm will be located—there are existing proposals at various stages for ocean-based offshore wind farms in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Texas—New York Power Authority (NYPA) yesterday announced a major public-private initiative for the potential development of wind power projects in the state of New York’s fresh waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

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In an initiative known as the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, NYPA released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to initiate efforts to develop offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes. If somehow completed before the above mentioned projects, the Great Lakes project would not only be the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., it would be the first freshwater wind farm in the world.

Government and industry support for Great Lakes wind only part of equation

In approving the offshore projects and their locations, the state will hold several community meetings to gather public input and statements. New York officials say they will entertain proposals with a rated minimum capacity of 120 megawatts, but that the exact size and location of the wind farms would need to be hashed out by developers, regulators and other stakeholders.

“We have an opportunity to ensure that New York is the national leader in the growth of the clean energy economy, which will create thousands of jobs across the state,” said New York Governor David A. Paterson on Tuesday. “To get there, we must take full advantage of our natural resources, including hydropower, solar, and wind.”

Governor Patterson went on to say that harnessing the power of wind is critical to achieving his stated goal for New York to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by 2015.

Officials from the wind energy industry applauded the Earth Day announcement from Gov. Patterson. “This is a great sign for offshore wind energy in the U.S.,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, in a statement released Wednesday. “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,” added Bode.

The RFEI for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project can be accessed on the NYPA website.  The deadline for receipt of proposals is June 15, 2009.

Image: © Rodiks | Dreamstime.com


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is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.

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