New York eyes offshore wind farms on Great Lakes

New York Power Authority would buy all the power generated from the offshore projects, which could be located in either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.

NEW YORK--New York State is looking for developers to build wind farms on its Great Lakes that could generate 120 to 500 megawatts of power to boost the amount of electricity that comes from renewable sources by 2015.

The New York Power Authority would buy all the power generated from the offshore projects, which could be located in either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.

Offshore wind power costs about twice as much as land-based wind projects, according to industry estimates. Offshore wind farms cost about $4 million per megawatt if no interest accrued during construction.

However, typically offshore wind farms can generate more power. Five firms are studying the Great Lakes wind project, which was first proposed in April.

A combined cycle natural gas plant, which does produce carbon dioxide, meanwhile costs just about $1 million a megawatt.

One megawatt powers about 800 homes in New York.

Companies interested in making a proposal have to inform the state-owned power generator by March 20. Proposals are due June 1.

The state will announce any winners by December 2010 with power purchase agreement negotiations completed by May 31, 2011. The Power Authority said it would favor projects completed in 2015 and those that benefit the local economy.

The project would generate much needed Upstate jobs and help the state and its Democratic governor, David Paterson, meet ambitious renewable-power goals and the region's greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

New York's renewable portfolio standard requires 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2013, while the governor set a goal of 45 percent of the state's power come from energy efficiency and renewable resources by 2015.

New York is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which uses a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Wind power produces no greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide.

Several firms want to build wind power facilities in New York. The state power grid operator said earlier this year it was studying proposals to interconnect more than 8,000 MW of wind projects. Of course, most of those projects will not be built.

New York already has more than 1,200 MW of wind power capacity, most of which was built over the past year or so in part to capture substantial federal and state incentives.

 

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