Members of the Oswego County Environmental Management Council (EMC) continue to keep a close eye on the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) plan for the development of an offshore wind turbine farm based in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie.
Oswego County officials shot down the wind farm’s development in waters off the shores within Oswego County last year. Despite the rejection, EMC President Timothy Carroll said that the council’s interest remains due to the group signing on to the county’s comprehensive plan, which included studying alternate energy plans for use within county borders.
“If for some reason this wind farm gets produced at the western side of the (Lake Ontario) basin, and it turns out that, ‘Hey, this isn’t too bad,’ and people around here change their mind, we want to stay on top of things,” he said. “You just want try to avoid reacting to these things, and instead be ahead of them.”
In 2009, NYPA officials pitched the idea to develop the Great Lake Offshore Wind (GLOW) project in waters off Oswego County. NYPA has been seeking counties located along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie for the project’s development, with construction anticipated to begin in 2013 after a series of studies on the project’s impact.
After a debate on the subject that pinned the Republican caucus of the county Legislature against the Democratic caucus, the body denied NYPA’s proposal to seek contractors to develop the wind farm in waters along Oswego County. The rejection was finalized in a resolution in April that formally opposed the proposal. That resolution passed the full Legislature by a count of 20-4, with the four Democrats of the body voting against the outright denial of the project.
“I don’t feel comfortable opposing a project that we don’t know exactly what it entails,” said Legislator Jake Mulcahey, D-Oswego, during the April 2010 meeting.
Legislators who voiced concern over the project noted that the wind farm could be a detriment to a number of areas pertinent to the county.
“This zone would destroy recreational fishing in our lake and rivers, reduce property values, absolutely restrict recreational boating and sailing and severely impact tourism through the despoliation of the numerous scenic vistas, including what we all call the second-best sunset in the world,” said Legislator Shawn Doyle, R-Pulaski, during a committee meeting in March 2010 regarding the wind farm concept.
After receiving votes of rejection on the eastern basin of Lake Ontario, including Oswego, Jefferson and Wayne counties, NYPA officials headed west, seeking counties interested in the GLOW project.
Since that time, NYPA members have stated that they have received five proposals for the project’s development.
“They still have not announced that location,” Carroll said.
However, according to Connie Cullen, deputy director of media relations for NYPA, the question of “where?” should be answered soon. She added that with proposals in hand, and resolutions against GLOW passed by county legislatures, NYPA is keeping its options open.
“While we respect the legislators’ views in their resolution concerning the location for Great Lakes Offshore Wind project, the New York Power Authority is keeping its options open concerning the project location in order to continue listening to the greatest amount of public input possible and give the many different facets of the general public an opportunity to be heard, including individual citizens, municipal officials and business, environmental, recreation, academic and civic groups,” Cullen said.
Details of the proposals were not given.