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New York Takes Next Step To Build Wind Farms on Great Lakes

LakeErieWindSitesWith the release of a request for proposals (RFP) this week, New York State has launched a search for developers to build wind farms on its neighboring Great Lakes that could generate between 120 megawatts to 500 megawatts of power with a target date of 2015, reports Reuters.

The RFP calls for the development of offshore wind power projects in New York State waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The New York Power Authority would buy all the power generated from the offshore projects, reports Reuters.

Offshore wind farms typically cost about $4 million per megawatt, about twice that of land-based wind projects, if no interest accrued during construction, but they can generally generate more power, reports Reuters.

The large-scale wind farm is estimated to cost upwards of $1 billion, reports The Buffalo News. Richard M. Kessel, the Power Authority’s president and chief executive officer, said in the article it could be one of the first offshore wind power projects in the United States.

It’s estimated that the offshore wind farm could consist of 40 to more than 150 wind turbines located two to six miles from the shoreline, reports The Buffalo News.

Kessel told The Buffalo News that about 14 to 15 potential developers are interested in the wind farm project.

Proposals must include the possible impacts on the environment including fish, birds and bats, as well as on the view and on recreation, reports the Times Union.

Proposals are due on June 1, 2010, and the NYPA plans to select the project by December 2010 with power purchase agreement negotiations completed by May 31, 2011, according to Reuters.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, New York recently joined the wind power “gigawatt” state club with 1,261 MW of wind capacity.

Gov. David Paterson said during a news conference that the wind power project will help meet his goal to obtain 30 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2015, while bringing new jobs to western New York, reports the Times Union.

Meanwhile, the proposal to build two, utility-sized wind turbines along the Lake Michigan shoreline is facing opposition from the citizens of the Grand Haven Township who raised concerns for their health, the environment and the value of their property, reports Muskegon News.

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