Barclay: Too Many Questions Remain to Allow Wind Mills on Lake Ontario

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski) said today too many questions remain unanswered for windmills to be allowed to be built along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

The New York Power Authority announced in December 2009 it is accepting requests for proposals (RFPs) from prospective wind mill companies to construct wind turbines along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The period for proposals to be accepted will come to a close in March.

“While I appreciate NYPA’s interest in encouraging alternative energy sources and believe we need to diversify our energy resources, I have several concerns about its pursuit of wind energy on the Great Lakes. This has never been done before along the Great Lakes and it’s my understanding that the permit process is not in place,” said Barclay.

“It is unclear what kind of influence or input communities will have on proposed projects. As the state representative for the area where these wind turbines are proposed, I have many concerns and questions. I know I am not alone. However, it’s unclear where in the process those concerns will be addressed, if at all,” added Barclay. “We’re assured by NYPA’s web site that a list of agencies could be involved in the review process, but it is unclear which ones or how the local community will be involved.”

“I also have other questions: Will local communities be able to veto the project? Who will decide whether the localities want the project? What type of hearings and notices will be provided? And will residents who are affected by the project be able to vote on it? These are some of the many questions that need to be addressed before this project moves beyond the conceptual stage.”

NYPA’s recent requests for proposals for wind turbines along the Great Lakes is part of the Governor’s “45 by 15” objective for New York to have 45 percent of the state’s electrical needs met through renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency by 2015. According to NYPA, wind turbines could be in working order along the shoreline by 2015.