Western New Yorkers are still waiting to hear what the state’s Great Lakes Offshore Wind (GLOW) power project will look like. An announcement was originally slated to come in January, then pushed back to the end of March. Now the date could run well into summer.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) began considering five proposals last summer for GLOW. The state has promised to pursue the construction of one, which will result in a wind farm in either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.
NYPA is in the final stages of deciding which wind farm proposal to greenlight, according to spokeswoman Sharon Laudisi.
“We are in the final stages. I can’t pinpoint an exact date. But we are on schedule still looking at second quarter,” says Laudisi
But that doesn’t mean construction will begin anytime soon.
“Aggressively, you could look at 2015. What we’ve learned is, the seasons, when you can do construction and when you can’t. So a lot of that has to be vetted through the permitting process,” she says.
While waiting continues, some opponents of offshore wind have tried to land some preemptive blows. Last month, the Erie County Legislature passed a resolution opposing NYPA’s eventual choice. Seven of the nine counties with Great Lakes shorelines have passed similar measures.
NYPA has indicated such actions will influence their decision where to locate the GLOW project.
Opponents of the project say wind turbines could obstruct views of the lake and muddy the lakes with chemical-laden sediment leftover from the area’s industrial age.
“Anything could stop a project a project from happening. On a positive not though, toxic sediments is nothing new to the State of New York or the [Great] Lakes. Anything, though, can adversely affect a project,” Laudisi says.
Using a stack of thousands of letters to demonstrate her point, Laudisi says feedback submitted to NYPA from the public and businesses has been overwhelmingly in favor of the project.
The Rochester Institute of Technology will host a conference Wednesday on Great Lakes offshore wind development from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Louis Slaughter Hall. Panelists and presenters will discuss environmental and technical issues, including potential effects on boating and shipping.
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