Proposals for wind energy plants totalize capacity from 120 to 510 MW in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, two of the five Great Lakes along the coast of the State of New York, at the Canadian border.
According to the NYPA, the review process for these projects will last until January 2011. If no issues should arise, the first wind farm will start to be built in 2013 and operations will begin in 2015.
"Each proposal will undergo a wide-ranging review, not only for technical and environmental strengths, but also with regard to economic benefits”, said Richard Kessel, and chief executive officer, NYPA. Projects will also have to be approved by military authorities.
Currently there aren’t any operating offshore wind farms in the USA. The first wind farm should be the recently approved Cape Wind project, in Massachusetts. Other 8 proposals were submitted for plants in Delaware and New Jersey, also on the Atlantic Ocean, while the other States that are bounded by the Great Lakes (mainly Michigan and Ohio) are planning to build plants off their shores.
The five Great Lakes cover a total area of 250,000 square kilometres, slightly larger than the whole of the UK. Even the smallest ones, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, cover a total area that is larger than Switzerland.
Five Proposals Begin NYPA Review Process For Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project
Environmental And Economic Development Benefits Expected
New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel announced the start of a multi-phase review process for five proposals vying to construct the Great Lakes Offshore Wind (GLOW) project or projects in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario.
“Today the Power Authority begins a rigorous, multi-disciplinary review process for the five GLOW proposals that aim to construct an offshore wind project with the promise to deliver the one-two punch of generating clean renewable power while boosting the economy with clean energy jobs,” said Richard M. Kessel, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “There is much work to be done before any project can be built and once NYPA’s initial review phase is complete, there will be significant opportunities for community participation in the next phases of the evaluation process.”
“We have stated since the beginning, in April 2009, that if there is a viable GLOW project, it will only be built following thorough regulatory and environmental review, and also a very public evaluation that will go beyond what is required by regulatory entities,” Kessel added.
“We know five proposals is a strong showing as previous solicitations for offshore wind projects in Delaware and New Jersey received, three and five proposals, respectively,” said Michael Townsend, chairman, Board of Trustees, New York Power Authority. “For the environment and the economy, the Power Authority takes an historic stride today towards developing a clean energy economy and helping to fulfill the New York State Energy Plan which includes Governor Paterson’s goal of having New York supply 30 percent of its power through renewable sources by 2015.”
“The devastation caused by our shortsighted energy decisions has never been more apparent than with the oil release still gushing in the Gulf. Fortunately, today we are taking a step in the opposite direction, toward a cleaner, safer energy future in our Great Lakes,” said Brian Smith, WNY program director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Citizens Campaign for the Environment is thrilled with the substantive response to the RFP, and congratulates NYPA for moving the process forward to bring wind power to our Great Lakes.”
During the NYPA initial review phase, the proposals are evaluated by a team of NYPA staff and its consultant specialists to determine which of the proposals best meets the requirements set forth in the NYPA Request for Proposals, for construction of the GLOW project, which was issued on Dec. 1, 2009. This is expected to take about six to seven months. Under procurement law, NYPA may not share information on any proposal during the NYPA initial review. The NYPA initial review is expected to result in the staff recommendation of a preferred developer(s).
The next phase is scheduled to take place in late 2010 or early 2011 when the NYPA Trustees will evaluate the staff recommendations and select a preferred developer(s) pending successful contract negotiations, completion of all regulatory and environmental reviews, and incorporation of community input. Upon the action by the Trustees, information on the proposal(s) by the preferred developers(s), which is not proprietary or covered by confidentially agreements, will be made public on the NYPA Web site.
At this point, the preferred developer(s) will begin their efforts to meet the thorough regulatory and environmental reviews which will have expanded opportunities for public input beyond what is required for those reviews.
After successful completion of the regulatory and environmental reviews and incorporation of community input, estimated to total about two years, a contract(s) for a purchase power agreement(s) can then be signed between NYPA and the preferred developer(s). Construction can begin with project operation anticipated in two to three years following contract signing.
“Each proposal will undergo a wide-ranging review, not only for technical, financial and other critical strengths, but for the economic development benefits to be integrated into the project,” said Kessel. “The Power Authority has been already creating a foundation for economic development activities by conducting Get Listed! events to encourage New York businesses to explore opportunities to supply the wind power industry with the goods and services needed for project design, development, construction and operation.”
Get Listed! is a NYPA initiative, in collaboration with a number of New York State economic development and energy groups including the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Center State Corporation for Economic Opportunity, Empire State Development Corporation, Greater Rochester Enterprise, New York’s Creative Core, NYSERDA, University at Buffalo— the State University of New York and Southern Tier Economic Growth.
At Get Listed!, businesses are invited, free of charge, to describe their company’s abilities and availability to work in the wind power industry on the GLOW Business Registry on the NYPA Web site at www.nypa.gov/glowbusinessregistry. To date over 220 businesses have joined the registry. Get Listed! was held in Buffalo in February and in Rochester this past April, with over 150 attendees at each location.
The next Get Listed! is scheduled for June 24 from 1 to 3pm at Syracuse Center of Excellence at Syracuse University. Get Listed! is free but reservations are requested. Businesses can reserve a seat online via a link on the home page of NYPA’s Web site www.nypa.gov or by contacting Megan Rasbeck, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, at 716. 842.1357, ext. 110, or email@example.com. Another Get Listed! will be held in Dunkirk on July 27 from 1 to 3pm at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 30 Lake Shore Drive East in Dunkirk. Information for the Dunkirk Get Listed! Will be available on the NYPA Web site shortly.
Statements in Support:
"The Great Lakes Offshore Wind Initiative is great because it will bring much needed jobs to communities such as Buffalo and continue to solidify New York’s place as a leader in clean energy," said Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.
"Our area is a bi-national location; we have proximity to major markets, an existing base of suppliers and transportation infrastructure, as well as the strong wind patterns off the Great Lakes. This initiative has the potential not only to provide power, but also to support many green collar jobs for the construction, operation and maintenance of wind power facilities," said Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said: “I’m pleased with the continuing success of the New York Power Authority’s Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project. The production of clean, renewable energy is vital to our environmental stability, and I want to commend NYPA for their efforts in energy production and efficiency. Today’s announcement represents an important step in the GLOW project as it continues to move forward.”
"We have to look no further than today’s headlines to see that the future of our long-range-energy needs rests not on fossil fuels but on clean, renewable energy from wind, solar and hydroelectric. Making the transition is a task of historic proportions, but we can not shy away. There is no alternative, and the environmental crisis in the Gulf shows, failure is not an option," said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. "The good news is that many of our country’s greatest achievements have come from meeting challenges that were, in their day, just as daunting. Every crisis presents opportunities, including in this case the opportunity to create jobs and stimulate investment in whole new "green energy" industries."
“The great response to the NYPA RFP process for development of offshore wind projects in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario is further validation of the strong economic development potential the wind industry offers the Buffalo Niagara Region and New York State as a whole,” said Thomas A. Kucharski, president and chief executive officer, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE). “NYPA has long been a great partner in our economic development attraction efforts.
Their leadership role in the Great Lakes Offshore Wind project and their commitment to support the project through the purchase of power generated by it send a tremendous message to BNE prospects in the wind industry of just how committed and how welcoming New York State will be to companies in this industry. This project is a perfect complement to our renewable energy efforts and strengthens our partnership with NYPA.”
“Although the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative cannot support any particular wind project, our mission supports work to facilitate the sustainable development of wind power in the Great Lakes region. It appears that NYPA is taking many extra steps—going the extra mile—to ensure that information on their proposed offshore development is inclusive, complete, and provides ample opportunity for public comment, involvement, and education," said John Hummer, project manager, Great Lakes Wind Collaborative. “Along with other Great Lakes jurisdictions moving forward on offshore wind power, the development of clean, non-polluting
offshore wind power by NYPA will play a significant role in propelling the Great Lakes region, and the nation as a whole, as a global leader in producing renewable sources of energy that will move us away from using pollution-causing fossil fuels.”
“The State of New York, and our Nation, must continue to pursue green energy initiatives to break our dependence on fossil fuels. We are blessed with spectacular wind resources across the country, and fortunately New York State is one of the best locations for the development of wind energy,” said Bill Daily, administrative director and chief executive officer, Chautauqua County IDA. “Harnessing this resource to generate electricity will lead to economic development by the creation of jobs. Many jobs during construction phases, but more importantly high-paying permanent jobs located in our communities along Lake Erie.”
“The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents hundreds of NYS power generation employees from a diverse fuel mix including coal, nuclear and hydropower. The Great Lakes Offshore Wind project represents further fuel diversity, as well as domestic energy independence to complement existing NYS base load power generation,” Phil Wilcox, business representative, IBEW Local 97. “Western New York led the world over 100 years ago with the development of hydropower generation from the Niagara River, leading to great wealth and attracting the likes of Darwin Martin and Frank Lloyd Wright to Buffalo. We have a chance to lead the nation again in energy development with the Great Lakes Offshore Wind project and the leadership of the New York Power Authority.”
"The level of interest in this RFP is very encouraging. With every passing day renewable energy initiatives like this make greater economic, environmental and national security sense," said Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. "Our organization looks forward to working with all involved parties to construct the best possible project.”
“Americans are witnessing firsthand the devastating environmental and economic costs as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico”, stated Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist, Natural Resources Defense Council. “We can no longer afford to debate the merits of properly sited offshore wind energy and its contribution as a sustainable energy solution that
protects our environment while reducing economic risk long-term. The Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project supports the state’s plan to develop renewable energy generation that will directly benefit New York’s environment and economy.”
Robert E. Knoer, chair, Wind Action Group, said: “As a part of our mission the Wind Action Group has advocated an exploration of the potential for energy generation and job creation presented by offshore wind in the Great Lakes. We are pleased that the New York Power Authority has been thoughtfully exploring this potential and look forward to the results of NYPA’s request for proposals. There is no clear answer to our environmental, energy and economic future; only choices. We commend NYPA for its willingness to engage the public in the discussion of the considerable environmental and economic issues and choices surrounding wind energy. It is our hope that a thoughtful weighing of the benefits and burdens of all types of energy development will lead to the best future for all involved.”
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 public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. Nearly 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.