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Offshore Wind Power Initiative Proposed for Great Lakes
New York Power Authority to Examine Economic and Environmental Benefits, and Technical and Financial Issues

Connie M. Cullen

Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI)

Questions or comments on the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Power Initiative:

April 22, 2009


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

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.

In parallel to the RFEI process, NYPA will arrange, through the RFP on technical issues, to have siting studies conducted to ascertain optimum areas for locating Great Lakes Offshore Wind Projects.  The studies will review the wind resource, impacts on birds, visibility, vessel traffic, and lake bottom conditions. It is anticipated the results of the studies will be included in the RFP.

It is expected this power will be sold to NYPA and others for resale to upstate customers.

The RFEI can be accessed on the NYPA website at or look for the link on the home page (  The deadline for receipt of RFEI proposals is June 15, 2009.

Questions and comments about the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project initiative can be emailed to



Jonathan F. Foster, vice chairman of NYPA's board of trustees, said:  “In late 2008, the United States became the world leader in wind energy production.  Our state, New York, was one of the leading states in adding wind capacity last year.  With the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, the Power Authority will pursue additional opportunities to give Western New York a competitive edge in developing workforce training and other assets to attract the growing wind power industry.”

Elise Cusack, NYPA trustee, said:  “Through the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, Western New York should be confident that the Power Authority and its supporters will do their due diligence to ensure the right wind projects go forward, which meet the environmental and economic concerns of our communities and our region.”

D. Patrick Curley, NYPA trustee, said:  “Since the New York Power Authority gleans so much of its inertia from the earth’s predominant component, water, it is fitting that the Power Authority be part of today’s Earth Day Celebration and I am personally delighted with our participation.”

Paul A. Dyster, mayor, City of Niagara Falls, said:  “While the 21st Century holds challenges for us in this region, it clearly holds enormous opportunity as well.  If we are successful in harnessing wind power without compromising the quality of our environment, we will become a national leader in advancing green employment.  Developing this new source of renewable energy can and should deliver tangible long-term economic benefits to the region.”

State Senator Antoine M. Thompson said:  “I am dedicated to making Western New York a leader for ‘green’ initiatives and the green economy.  The potential for offshore wind in the Great Lakes is enormous and should be used to our environmental and economic advantage.”

State Senator William T. Stachowski said:  “We believe the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project has tremendous energy potential for upstate New York.  This initiative is particularly exciting because science has shown us the ways that properly harnessed wind power can cut energy costs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and protect public health and the environment by reducing pollution.  In addition, this growing industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs in New York.  My colleagues and I will continue to make this important project a priority.”

Tom King, president of National Grid in the U.S., said:  “Addressing climate change and fostering a diversity of energy supply will require looking at all options to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  National Grid is pleased to join the New York Power Authority in supporting this comprehensive information gathering initiative to explore the potential of wind energy along the Great Lakes.”

Pete Grannis, commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said:  “Wind is a low-carbon, renewable fuel source that will play a significant role in New York's push for a clean energy economy.  We look forward to working with the Power Authority as this initiative goes forward to ensure that any Great Lakes wind projects are carried out in an environmentally-sound way.”

Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist, Natural Resources Defense Council, said:  “NRDC strongly supports increased use of wind energy and commends NYPA for its announcement today.  The technology for producing electricity from wind energy has improved greatly over the past twenty years, and wind on- and offshore—now represents one of the most promising sources of emissions free electricity.  Indeed, offshore wind power is probably the region’s largest untapped renewable energy resource.  Developing this resource is essential to help reduce pollution that threatens public health and our climate.”

Brian Smith, WNY program director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said:  “The Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project sends the critical message that large scale energy production doesn't have to come from polluting fossil fuels but rather it can be obtained from renewable, clean, homegrown sources such as wind.  Our nation's wind-rich Great Lakes have the potential to generate renewable energy that will help combat climate change, drive economic development and promote energy independence.  Now the Great Lakes can be great for one more reason.  Congratulations to NYPA and Governor Paterson for thinking outside the barrel.”

Terry L. Yonker, current chair of the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative Steering Committee, said:  “The announcement by NYPA is a clear sign that the development of wind power offshore is becoming attractive as a way to meet future green energy demands in the Great Lakes region.  NYPA is positioned to strategically move such a project forward and has the capacity within its system to balance the wind power output.  The Great Lakes Wind Collaborative is a U.S.-Canadian group that works to further its collective understanding to resolve environmental, capacity, transmission, and sustainability issues surrounding the development of wind power all across the Great Lakes region.  The membership of the GLWC is drawn from U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, all eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces, as well as municipal, environmental, and industry sectors.  The potential for wind power development in the Great Lakes is very large and could significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the entire region, the world's third largest economy.  But we also need to work cooperatively to insure that wind power development on the Great Lakes is environmentally sound and economically sustainable.”

Carol E. Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said:  “Offshore wind energy would bring much-needed local jobs and economic activity to communities from Buffalo to Watertown, and it would further solidify New York's place as a clean energy leader.  We commend NYPA for launching this bold initiative and look forward to working with leaders across the state to make it a reality.”

About NYPA:

■    NYPA 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 the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.   For more information,

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