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Too early to pick sides in offshore wind turbine controversy

As talk of putting huge wind turbines in Lake Ontario revs up, it's too early for citizens, businesses and governments to pick sides. That's because there are still too many unknowns, such as how many and where the wind turbines would be placed, how visible they would be from the shore, and what the impact would be on fishermen, boaters and birds.

As talk of putting huge wind turbines in Lake Ontario revs up, it's too early for citizens, businesses and governments to pick sides.

That's because there are still too many unknowns, such as how many and where the wind turbines would be placed, how visible they would be from the shore, and what the impact would be on fishermen, boaters and birds.

Nor is there firm data on the economic boost that could come.

Almost a year ago on Earth Day, the New York Power Authority announced it would seek proposals for offshore wind farms in Lake Ontario and Erie. Those proposals are due to the NYPA on June 1. Richard Kessel, president of the authority, told this page that it hopes to make selections by the end of the year.

But that's just the start of the process. Various governmental agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would review the proposals and hold public hearings. Some state environmental groups, such as Audubon New York, told this page they are waiting to evaluate the chosen proposals before taking a stand; they want to make sure there's a rigorous environmental review done.

In terms of the economy, the prospect of up to 800 manufacturing and installation jobs over two years sounds... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

As talk of putting huge wind turbines in Lake Ontario revs up, it's too early for citizens, businesses and governments to pick sides.

That's because there are still too many unknowns, such as how many and where the wind turbines would be placed, how visible they would be from the shore, and what the impact would be on fishermen, boaters and birds.

Nor is there firm data on the economic boost that could come.

Almost a year ago on Earth Day, the New York Power Authority announced it would seek proposals for offshore wind farms in Lake Ontario and Erie. Those proposals are due to the NYPA on June 1. Richard Kessel, president of the authority, told this page that it hopes to make selections by the end of the year.

But that's just the start of the process. Various governmental agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would review the proposals and hold public hearings. Some state environmental groups, such as Audubon New York, told this page they are waiting to evaluate the chosen proposals before taking a stand; they want to make sure there's a rigorous environmental review done.

In terms of the economy, the prospect of up to 800 manufacturing and installation jobs over two years sounds enticing, along with the possibility of building turbine parts for other communities. Kessel estimates about 80 permanent jobs could be created.

Despite the lack of specifics, the Wayne County Legislature recently voted to oppose offshore turbines. That seems premature. Political leaders so far in Rochester haven't taken a stand; they should remain open-minded.

Kessel says that turbines won't be placed where communities don't want them. Aesthetics, of course, are a concern; computer modeling could help show the impact.

It's good to see New York state exploring alternative energy strategies that also create jobs, but until more specifics are known, there's no reason to choose sides.


Source: http://rocnow.com/article/e...

APR 19 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/25762-too-early-to-pick-sides-in-offshore-wind-turbine-controversy
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