First US programme for offshore development in fresh water

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced the release of a request for proposals regarding the construction of offshore wind energy plants in the waters of the Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) where, based on Authority estimates, plants could be developed with a total capacity ranging from 120 to 500 MW.

The companies that are interested in participating to the programme, which is the first wind power project to be developed in fresh waters in the States, are asked to submit their proposals by June 1st., 2010. Within the end of 2010, the State of New York will announce the selected bidders and within May 2011 the agreements for the development of the projects will be completed.

The construction of these plants is key to the strategy that the State of New York is adopting to increase electricity generation from renewable sources and to create new green collar jobs.

According to the Democratic Governor, David Paterson, this is a significant step forward towards the objective set by the State of New York: meeting 30 percent of the State’s electricity needs from renewable resources by 2015.

Presently, the State of New York has wind projects for 1,200 MW, most of which have been installed in the last 15 months, thanks to federal and state incentives.

The authority that manages the transmission and distribution network also said that during this past year it has received requests regarding wind projects connections totalizing approximately 8,000 MW, though it is likely that only half of these projects will be completed.

NYPA President Kessel Calls for Proposals to Develop the First Fresh Water Wind Energy Initiative in the Nation: Increasing Emissions-Free Wind Power Will Contribute to Cleaner Air and Job Growth

New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel announced the release of a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of offshore wind power projects in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario. Not only will this represent the first initiative in the Great Lakes, it will be the first wind power development of any kind in a fresh water body in the nation.

"The development of a wind energy project in the Great Lakes off the shores of New York will bring us another step towards my goal to meet 30 percent of the State’s electricity needs from renewable resources by 2015, help demonstrate the significantly untapped potential of offshore wind, and bring new clean energy jobs to Western New York," Governor Paterson said. "I commend the New York Power Authority for helping transition New York to a clean energy economy, and for maintaining New York’s leadership position in developing renewable energy resources."

“Today we reach a milestone in New York’s energy history by seeking the development of a wind energy project in the New York waters of the Great Lakes. These efforts will contribute to Governor Paterson’s goal to increase New York’s use of clean renewable energy and help revitalize the Upstate economy with the jobs and construction of the wind power industry,” said Richard M. Kessel, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “The significance of developing the natural wind resources of New York’s own Great Lakes will help diversify the state’s energy mix, strengthen our energy independence, promote economic development, create jobs and expand the use of clean, green electricity to reap the vital benefit of a better environment for future generations.”

"The development of a green economy and the reach for energy independence are two critical components to our economic future. We are counting on the Power Authority to take the leading role in these areas. The Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project initiative is an important step towards those goals. I look forward to building upon this new era by working with Governor Paterson and President Kessel to further even more policy initiatives to restore the Power Authority to its rightful place as the preeminent public utility in the nation,” said Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee.

“Hand in hand with the development of renewable energy sources like the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, are the potential of jobs and manufacturing opportunities that could help make the Upstate economy the leader in green industry initiatives through the efforts of the region’s talented entrepreneurs and skilled workforce,” said Michael Townsend, chairman, Board of Trustees, NYPA.

"Today, NYPA is beginning to unleash the wind potential of our Great Lakes and brings this important groundbreaking project one step closer to reality," said Brian Smith, WNY program director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "Our wind-rich Great Lakes can soon provide us with wind rich renewable energy that will help combat climate change, drive economic development and promote energy independence. We applaud NYPA and Governor Paterson for moving forward with this truly historic project."

The Power Authority is soliciting proposals for the development of a utility scale, offshore wind power project in the range of 120 megawatts (MW) to 500 MW. Respondents have been asked to include all project costs in their bids. The project would interconnect with new or existing transmission facilities of the appropriate regional electric utilities, which are all controlled by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). The NYISO operates New York’s bulk electricity grid and administers the state’s wholesale electricity markets. The Power Authority would purchase the full output of the project under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

NYPA anticipates the following deadlines for the RFP process. The date for submitting an optional Notice of Intent to submit a proposal is March 20, 2010. Questions about the RFP will be accepted until April 9, 2010. The due date for proposals is June 1, 2010. Any winning project(s) would be expected to be awarded by December 2010. The target date for completion of the PPA negotiations is May 31, 2011. Prospective developers are requested to periodically check the NYPA Web site ( to see if there are any modifications to the dates.

First announced on Earth Day, April 22, NYPA advanced its offshore wind initiative at a location by Lake Erie. In attendance were representatives of 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. Leading up to the release of the RFP, NYPA has been conducting outreach sessions in Buffalo, Lewiston and Oswego to inform key stakeholders about the subject and the process involved with moving it forward.

The Power Authority has commissioned the preparation of certain studies related to the project. Pertinent information from such studies will be posted on the NYPA Web site. Those studies include conducting preliminary wind resource, site screening and environmental studies, and other technical studies with respect to the New York waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario to investigate potentially feasible locations for project sites as shown in the RFP.

Respondents may propose projects located anywhere in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario (subject to certain restrictions such as shipping lanes and avian exclusions) that interconnect at any point on the NYISO Transmission System which can receive the project’s energy output. Respondents should demonstrate the capability to develop, design, finance, construct, operate and maintain an offshore wind project.

The threshold requirements to determine a proposal’s viability include total generating capacity from 120 MW to 500 MW; location within the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario; capability of project to interconnect with the NYISO Transmission System; plans for mitigating the project’s effect on the environment during construction and operation; and the financial capabilities of the developer. The Power Authority will give more favorable consideration to proposals that include: long-term economic benefits for the region including the use of local labor and materials; the manufacturing of wind components; firm pricing; a target commercial operation date in 2015; and a strong likelihood of public acceptance.

All proposals will be reviewed with a preliminary screening followed by a detailed analysis. Those proposals deemed eligible will undergo further evaluation which is expected to culminate in a recommendation of firm(s) to the Power Authority’s senior management, and eventually its Trustees.

The Power Authority’s sole contact person for the RFP is Jordan Brandeis. He can be reached via e-mail at All RFP respondents are reminded to periodically check the NYPA Web site for answers to questions, clarifications and additional information that might be posted including announcements of important deadlines and dates.

The RFP can be directly accessed on the NYPA Web site at or from where there is further background information on the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project initiative. Questions and comments from interested members of the general public about the RFP or any aspect of the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project can be emailed to

Statements of Support

“The Great Lakes, with their proud history of providing Upstate with significant industries such as shipping, fishing and recreation, will now help bring high tech, green industries and jobs to the region with the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project,” said Jonathan F. Foster, vice chairman, Board of Trustees, NYPA. “By being the nation’s first offshore wind project in the Great Lakes, New York will benefit from the emissions-free energy it produces while becoming the center of new industries and the jobs they produce.”

“We’re looking forward to seeing the responses for the call for proposals to build the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project,” said D. Patrick Curley of Orchard Park, trustee, NYPA. “Wind power developers will soon discover the significant resources of labor, materials and transportation available in Western New York and throughout Upstate New York to help formulate high-quality, competitive bids.”

“The Power Authority has carefully formulated the call for Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project proposals to include professional guidance from wind power developers and local input from community, environmental and business organizations,” said Elise M. Cusack of Eggerstville, trustee, NYPA. “Development of alternate energy sources, like the Great Lakes’ winds, is as critical to the economic growth of Western New York as it is to cleaner air so all views must be heard to achieve the best possible project.”

“Developing renewable resources will help New York address climate change issues at home and around the globe. Fostering a diversity of energy supply sources, including wind and other options, will allow us to find new ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Tom King, president, National Grid in the U.S. “National Grid supports the potential of wind energy along the Great Lakes and the New York Power Authority’s initiative to make it happen.”

“I am quite pleased by the announcement from the Power Authority to begin to solicit proposals for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind project. With a large part of my district bordering Lake Erie, I encourage the potential developers to look closely at the benefits of building this project in

Western New York, using our infrastructure, labor and resources,” said Senator Bill Stachowski (D-Lake View) Chair of the Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee. “The aggressive timetable set by NYPA shows the importance of the project, and ensures that the renewable energy produced by the wind farm will be available in 2015. The potential economic impact of the project, the use of local labor and materials for construction will be immediate, with additional long-term benefits, enhancing or economy and environment.”

"As Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, I am pleased to see that NYPA is following through on the first wind power development in the Great Lakes," stated Senator Antoine M. Thompson. "This project will help spur the economy, provide new green collar jobs and increase the use of renewable energy."

“While New York has provided effective incentives for investment in renewable energy, particularly wind energy, our draft State Energy Plan has identified even greater potential for further development of wind power in offshore locations,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and chief executive officer, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “I applaud NYPA’s leadership and initiative. Today’s announcement is a step forward in meeting the clean energy objectives advanced by Governor David A. Paterson to increase our reliance on renewable energy sources and reduce our carbon footprint.”

“It is important for the Authority to make good choices as they proceed with the RFP process because whatever project(s) result will set precedents for other future offshore wind power developments in the Great Lakes," said Terry Yonker, U.S. co-chair, Great Lakes Wind Collaborative, as he commended NYPA for taking the necessary steps to develop wind power on the Great Lakes in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. "The potential for wind power in the Great Lakes is among the best anywhere on earth. It will likely change the face of power generation as we work to reduce the carbon footprint of the region."

"As the interest in offshore wind increases across the nation, NYPA’s RFP demonstrates that New York’s commitment to clean energy and wind continues. With over 1,200 MW of land-based wind online, New York is ready to take the next step in harnessing the potential of its strong offshore resources while growing the green economy and acting upon climate change goals," said Carol E. Murphy, executive director, Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

“The University at Buffalo fully supports NYPA’s effort to develop an offshore renewable generation project in Western NY. UB desires to purchase more renewable energy and renewable energy credits in the future. These tow products are in direct alignment with UB’s commitment to the environment and long range goals to achieve Climate Neutrality at its campuses,” said Michael Dupre, associate vice president for facilities, University at Buffalo. “A report prepared last year by the University at Buffalo Law School concluded that efforts to harness offshore wind power provide an opportunity for Western New York to become a leader in the generation of clean, renewable energy as an engine for regional economic development. A summary of the report is available at

The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.
It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. About 75 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.