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Offshore Wind: Balancing efficiency and accountability


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This panel will address whether threats from climate change, mercury emissions and other effects of fossil fuel dependence justify development of offshore wind in select areas of the Great Lakes. What state and federal regulatory schemes currently exist and are they adequate to protect the lakes? How are regulators, developers and environmental groups addressing wind development and environmental protection?

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Offshore Wind: Balancing efficiency and accountability

  1. 1. Great Lakes Offshore Wind: Protecting the Lakes and Building a New Energy Future?
  2. 2. Offshore wind can help reduce the massive societal costs imposed by our reliance on coal Why offshore wind?
  3. 3. Why offshore? Opportunity to fill in behind coal with utility scale renewable energy. The Great Lakes states see offshore wind as a major economic development opportunity. RPS POPULATION WIND
  4. 4. NYPA RFP for up to 500 MW of offshore wind; put on hold for now Draft bottomlands leasing legislation; development interest from Apex Wind and Bluewater Wind LEEDCo 25 MW pilot project has conditional lease and half of the required permits. Goal to construct pilot project in 2013; build out to 600 MW by 2020 New Governor’s task force on offshore wind; Evanston interested in purchasing 70 MW offshore wind Unfortunate legislative push-back to a poorly sited proposal would ban all offshore renewable energy development and research; not likely to succeed Temporary moratorium on offshore wind development in response to public backlash over poorly sited proposals
  5. 5. Key Barriers <ul><li>Cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pilot stage of industry and no local supply chain = costs in the $0.20+/kwh range for early projects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Regulatory uncertainty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No existing siting or permitting regime in the Great Lakes = difficulty securing insurance and financing, development delays, unclear path for public engagement, unclear criteria for siting decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public/political opinion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Without public support, this industry will not get off the ground </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Path Forward—Siting <ul><li>Ensure that the first projects are sited appropriately to avoid backlash. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5 mile set-back from shore for avian migration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid islands/migratory pathways </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time construction to avoid spawning periods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work proactively with volunteers and developers to identify and avoid problem areas </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Path Forward—Siting <ul><li>GL Wind siting project helping to build a comprehensive GIS tool to support good siting decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Based on Maine OWEGIS system built by University of Maine, with support from the Sewall Company </li></ul><ul><li>650+ data layers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coastal hazards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental impacts & wildlife </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural & aesthetic features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal, permitting boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coordinating with existing efforts to add value </li></ul>
  8. 8. Path Forward—Siting <ul><li>Obtain information to support good decisions </li></ul><ul><li>GVSU led collaborative research project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Testing and validation of LIDAR wind assessment technology on floating platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acoustic monitoring for avian and bat populations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data publicly available on the web </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Path Forward—Permitting <ul><li>Develop state policy on bottomlands leasing and offshore wind permitting </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure strong public involvement, environmental review </li></ul><ul><li>Make consistent between states, more efficient in wind development zones </li></ul>
  10. 10. Path Forward—Market <ul><li>Support large market development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advance utility, state and/or municipal collaboration on procurement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pooled purchasing spreads increased cost over broad rate base and gets the industry to scale </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Goal is to have a market for ~3000 MW of offshore wind, which will generate a local supply chain, while spreading the ratepayer impact across a large area </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Path Forward—Public Opinion <ul><li>Build public and political support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educate communities and decision-makers about environmental, economic benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dispel misconceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build partnerships with new allies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure transparency and broad engagement in decision-making to build trust, public acceptance </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. For more information: Emily Green Sierra Club Great Lakes Program Director 608-257-4994 [email_address]