Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NYPA Eyeing Lake for Wind Power

Chris Caya

BUFFALO, NY (2009-04-23) Nearly 40 wind turbines could dot the horizon of Lake Erie,or Lake Ontario, in the not too distant future, if an initiative by the New York Power Authority takes flight.

NYPA is requesting developers to provide data so it can guage whether a large-scale, off-shore wind farm, could be built on the Great Lakes, in western New York. NYPA President,and Chief Executive Officer, Richard Kessel says,the facility would generate at least 120-megawatts of electricity - or about 6-times the amount of power produced by the Steel Winds facility in Lackawanna.

Kessel says,"it's important to point out,this is not just a wind project. This is also an economic development project for [the region]. And, I believe,that if this project goes forward,the potential here,is to make western New York one of the centers for wind manufacturing in the country."

Federal and state lawmakers have blasted NYPA recently for not using un-allocated power from the Niagara Power Project to boost the local economy. Kessel,who has been on the job about 6-months says,"NYPA has not done enough[in the past]to help western New York." And, in the next few months, "I am committed to come up with a plan" for [returning] a "significant portion" of the "un-allocated megawatts" to the [region] for economic development.

According to the Power Authority president,the large-scale,off-shore wind farm,and the manufacturing industry it could spin-off, "could be the biggest boon" for the region in its history. Buffalo Audubon Society, Executive Director, Bill Hudson says, [his organization] "enthusiastically supports the development of wind energy," if it's done right. "At Audubon, we realize there will be some impact to wildlife. But we have to think about how this clean energy can off-set the terrible impact to our climate from global warming," Hudson said.

Developers have until June 15th to formally submit an interest in the project,which the Authority estimates could cost as much as $1-billion. If approved,the wind farm, could be operational in about 5-years.

© Copyright 2009, wned

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