The Dunkirk Common Council has taken a stand against offshore wind turbines along city property on Lake Erie by a 4-1 vote.
“I am for greener solutions of energy and I am for alternate energy, I am just not for wind turbines going out on Lake Erie that will have the possibility of affecting the aquatic life,” First Ward Councilman Don Williams said. “We don’t know what type of damage it may do to the lake floor. I just believe that the people that come here and that live here and visit the city of Dunkirk; they come here to do fishing and boating and a lot of things on the shore, they like the beauty of it.”
Rebecca Wurster, city development and planning director, shared that as part of her job, she is to help the council in making appropriate decisions in regards to urban planning and economic development. She laid out the pros and cons of wind turbines being built offshore near Dunkirk.
Cons include effects on marine and animal life that aren’t fully understood yet, that they could be built within view that may be unattractive to some, wave action can cause damage to turbines and offshore wind can be expensive to build and maintain.
Pros are the avoidance and creation of greenhouse gas emissions, locally produced power where demand is high, significant investments in infrastructure, the opportunity for thousands of short-term and long-term skilled jobs in construction, manufacturing and operation, diversification of electricity supply and the possibility to the NRG power plant, which is currently being included in the feasibility and alternative use study
“My professional recommendation is that council table this resolution,” Wurster said. “It’s very new to the United States and especially our community and there is some substantial financial benefits that can happen based on offshore wind and I just recommend looking forward to all of the pros and cons.”
“You have to have the perfect wind for these to be productive,” Fourth Ward Councilwoman Nancy Nichols said. “In Dunkirk we do not have the perfect wind, we either have nothing or we have monsoons. You can look at the docks, you can look at the damage that we have. Until they have perfected the ideal turbine that they can find replacement parts for, that would be adequately providing the electricity that we would need in the area, instead of turbines, I suggest that we direct someone to get someone in to get NRG fully operational for gas.”
“The whole thing is moot, we got no say in this thing, the governor has taken that power away from everyone along Lake Erie,” Third Ward Councilman James Stoyle said.
“If he wants those things up, they’re going to be out there. I’m going to vote yes on this simply because I don’t want them there; I grew up on the lake and I don’t want them there.”
“I strongly believe in this and I think that the cons outweigh the pros,” Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver shared. “One thing we do have left in the city of Dunkirk is the lakeshore property and the city waters. I know that we’re going to get opposition on this, but I think this is a great stance that the council is taking.”
The single nay vote came from Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto, his reasoning being that he simply didn’t have enough information.
“I just heard about this resolution recently,” Bamonto shared with the OBSERVER. “There’s no who, what, where, when and how. It also carries no weight against Albany. This is basically just saying the city is against in, but that’s it.”
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