New York Seeks Proposals for Offshore Wind Power in the Great Lakes

December 02, 2009

Photo of a long row of wind turbines rising from the ocean.

Although the United States is a wind power leader, it does not yet have an offshore wind plant such as this one, which is located off the coast of Arklow, Ireland.
Credit: GE Energy, ©2004, General Electric Company

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) released a request for proposals (RFP) on December 1 for the development of offshore wind power projects in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The wind power project would not only be the first in the Great Lakes, but the first wind power development of any kind in a freshwater body in the United States. The Power Authority is soliciting proposals for the development of a utility-scale wind power project in the range of 120-500 megawatts, with a target date of 2015 for commercial operation. Proposals are due on June 1, 2010, and the NYPA plans to select a winning project by December 2010.

Under the terms of the RFP, projects must interconnect with new or existing transmission facilities of the appropriate regional electric utilities, which are all controlled by the New York Independent System Operator. The NYPA will purchase the full output of the project under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement. NYPA has begun commissioning studies for the RFP, including conducting preliminary wind resource, site screening, and environmental studies to investigate potentially feasible locations for project sites as shown in the RFP. See the NYPA press release, the RFP, and the NYPA Web page for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project.

In another effort to harness offshore wind resources, the governors of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware announced on November 11 a tri-state partnership for the deployment of offshore wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic coastal region. Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, and Maryland Governor Martin O. Malley signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) creating a formal partnership that will build on the region's offshore wind resources to generate renewable energy while creating a sustainable market that will bring new economic opportunities. Through the MOU, the Mid-Atlantic states will focus on leveraging their resources and pooling their information to bring offshore wind energy to the region. The group will begin by identifying common transmission strategies for offshore wind energy deployment in the region, discussing ways to encourage sustainable market demand for this renewable resource, and working collaboratively in pursuing federal energy policies that will help to advance offshore wind in the area. See Governor Kaine's press release.