A Great Lakes Wind Feasibility Study is supposed to be completed before the end of the year.
The study is sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority – and state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, wants to make sure NYSERDA’s reappointed chairman, Richard Kauffman, is aware of the study and what it could mean for the Great Lakes. Kauffman was reappointed NYSERDA board chairman on June 11 after being confirmed by the state Senate on June 10, the last day of the state legislative session.
“Thank you for appearing before the Senate Finance Committee on June 10,” Borrello said in a June 15 letter to Kauffman. “I must say, I was very surprised at your nomination hearing that you were not aware of the Great Lakes Wind Feasibility Study that NYSERDA is sponsoring.”
Kauffman has served as NYSERDA chairman since 2013. Last October, NYSERDA was instructed to conduct a feasibility study of Great Lakes wind energy to consider the environmental, maritime, economic and social issues as well as market barriers and costs of developing wind in the Great Lakes, all as part of implementing the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals.
The study comes with a price tag of $1 million and is to consider existing and emerging technologies for fixed and floating turbines, including icing considerations unique to the Great Lakes, new technology development timelines, geospatial conditions, resource assessment, regulatory processes, permitting requirements and risks, potential conflicts, costs and economic opportunities, electrical infrastructure, and overall cost-reduction pathways.
Presentations on the study are ongoing through the rest of the year, including an Aug. 10 public webinar from 10 to 11 a.m., but Borrello said the study’s conclusions are already in doubt in his mind.
“The fact that when I questioned the current acting head of NYSERDA on offshore wind in the Great Lakes and he was completely unaware of the study currently underway and led by his agency, tells you all you need to know,” Borrello said. “This process to truly analyze the true impact is tainted and compromised and so is NYSERDA.”
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