Great Lakes offshore wind farm

Under the deal, state and federal agencies will provide a blueprint for speeding regulatory review of proposed wind farms. The Great Lakes have no offshore wind turbines, although a Cleveland partnership announced plans last year for a demonstration project that would place five to seven wind turbines in Lake Erie about seven miles north of the city, generating 20 to 30 MW.

Administration officials said the region’s offshore winds could generate more than 700 GW — one-fifth of all potential wind energy nationwide. Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania signed the agreement. The other three states with Great Lakes coastlines — Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin — declined invitations but could join the partnership later.

Among 10 federal agencies taking part are the Pentagon, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Developers would need state and federal approval to establish offshore the proposed wind farms. State governments own the Great Lakes bottomlands within U.S. territory, while a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be required to erect the turbines and all 10 federal agencies would review the plans.

By José Santamarta,