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Published April 24, 2009 10:07 AM

Offshore Wind Power Initiative Proposed for Great Lakes

In recognition of the celebration of Earth Day, New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer 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 today 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.

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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.

Governor David A. Paterson said: "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. To get there, we must take full advantage of our natural resources, including hydropower, solar, and wind. I have set the goal for New York to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by 2015. Harnessing the power of wind is critical to achieving that goal and the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project will help us reach it."

This project is in support of a key recommendation made by Governor David A. Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force to commit to realizing the potential of wind energy by addressing local siting and permitting issues, and conducting studies to address transmission and infrastructure limitations.

Richard Kessel, president and chief executive officer of NYPA, said: "Earth Day provides the perfect moment to launch the largest commercial-scale wind power initiative for the Great Lakes. In recognition of NYPA's commitment to the environment and support of Governor David A. Paterson's '45 by 15' goal, the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project has the promise to bring more clean, renewable energy to upstate homes and businesses, and greater prosperity through wind industry jobs."

Michael J. Townsend, chairman of NYPA's board of trustees, said: "With over 70 percent of NYPA’s electricity generated by clean renewable hydropower, the Power Authority has always been at the forefront of the development of clean energy sources. The magnitude of the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project has the potential to not only provide power but also many green collar jobs for the construction, operation and maintenance of wind power facilities."

The first step in the initiative was taken today 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.

NYPA intends to hold public and community forums to gather input as the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project initiative proceeds.

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