A Free-Market Energy Blog

No! to New York Wind in the Great Lakes (NYS Energy Research and Development Authority verdict)

By Sherri Lange -- January 9, 2023

“After completing the Feasibility Study and considering these various dimensions collectively, NYSERDA recommends that now is not the right time to prioritize Great Lakes Wind projects in Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.” (December 30, 2022)

It’s “No Go” to industrial wind in the Lakes controlled by New York State, the result of 18 months of consultations with

  • Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Pennsylvania, and Indigenous Nations (via the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force, or HETF)
  • Transmission experts
  • Wildlife consultants,

as well as numerous public comment periods.

No ‘Right-wing’ conspiracy here. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) reached the conclusion that the Great Lakes in its jurisdiction need ongoing protection. From a letter from Governor Hochul’s office to a community member and Great Lakes Activist:

On December 30, 2022, NYSERDA filed the New York State Great Lakes Wind Energy Feasibility Study and supporting technical reports as directed by the New York State Public Service Commission’s October 15, 2020 Order, and a NYSERDA White Paper that provides additional analysis around the role of Great Lakes wind projects in the context of New York State’s renewable energy portfolio and pathways to reach New York’s Climate Act goals.

The White Paper concludes that Great Lakes wind development is expected to cost more than other competing renewable energy options and highlights other considerations and data gaps that introduce risk and uncertainty to cost estimates, project development certainty, interconnection opportunities and resources. At present, Great Lakes wind does not offer a unique, critical, or cost-effective contribution toward the achievement of New York’s Climate Act goals. More information can be found on NYSERDA’s Great Lakes Wind Study website.

The full decision mentions other problems and cautions (see the quotes below and reference the link to the White Paper for a full description of the 12-step investigation and conclusions).


ONE: “Great Lakes Wind does not provide the same electric and reliability benefits that offshore wind offers New York State.”

TWO: “The cost differential from other sources of renewables, do not fully account for additional costs associated with interconnection, infrastructure, and labor, which would require site-specific evaluations and more detailed modeling.” (Great Lakes Wind projects would be roughly 55 to 230 percent more costly for ratepayers.)

THREE: “The Feasibility Study demonstrates that the visual impacts of Great Lakes Wind, at least in Lake Erie, would be considerable given the need for a relatively limited distance from shore necessary to support a project at scale in that lake.”

FOUR: [This item combines impacts of wildlife and sediment contamination] “The impact of Great Lakes Wind on wildlife species and the environment; this issue is exacerbated by the lack of data relating to the temporal and spatial distributions of wildlife both at specific locations and across the Great Lakes as a whole, including data on aerial fauna, fish habitats, benthic communities, and human uses. Further, sediment contamination is widespread but not well mapped to support least impact site identification. And the extent and duration to which Great Lakes Wind development could resuspend or redistribute these contaminants are uncertain. Each of these issues imparts development risks and uncertainties to potential projects.”

FIVE: “To date, NYSERDA has not received bids from Great Lakes Wind projects in response to its series of annual Tier 1 solicitations.”

SIX: “After completing the Feasibility Study and considering these various dimensions collectively, NYSERDA recommends that now is not the right time to prioritize Great Lakes Wind projects in Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.”

SEVEN: “NYSERDA has not identified unique characteristics of Great Lakes Wind that reflect a component otherwise missing in the State’s efforts to achieve the Climate Act goals.”

EIGHT: “At this time, there is not sufficient available information to thoroughly assess the impacts Great Lakes Wind may have on wildlife and each lake presents different risks regarding data gaps.”

NINE:  The study notes that “further identification of areas with chemical contamination and higher resolution of contamination distribution mapping would be helpful to assess impacts of proposed projects should Great Lakes Wind Energy move forward. These types of studies could be conducted in advance of siting or be undertaken as part of the regulatory process after sites have been proposed. Mitigation methods would also need to be considered and developed, depending on the findings of site-specific assessments.”

TEN: “Taking no action now does not mean there may not be an opportunity to advance Great Lakes Wind at some point in the future. The resource may become a feasible contributor to New York State’s goals in the future as the State advances toward its mid-century goals, and the Ohio demonstration project in Lake Erie discussed herein may provide further information to help inform a decision on this matter. Additionally, upgrades in the transmission system or new interconnection opportunities could result in lower costs or create opportunities. Finally, additional studies could be undertaken to reduce environmental risk and gain a better understanding of the estimated cost and benefits of building Great Lakes Wind projects as alternative resources advance toward achieving the mid-century Climate Act goals.”


The significance of this “future looking” White Paper, cannot be overestimated. This is a cautionary signal of the risk of grandiose government-enabled, greenwashing projects to look before you leap. The economics are terrible and the ecology problematic–and this is true for proposed projects on each coast.

This is also the verdict of grassroots activism against duplicating the grid in such poor fashion. Real environmentalists, the common kind, are standing up. (Washington, DC and paid local activists, please note.)

It is laudatory that NYSERDA’s White Paper confirms what other studies, even from Ontario, Canada, ascertained. Now, will New York State legalize the expansion of natural gas by either in-state drilling or certifying new pipeline projects? And back off of the unrealistic and costly state climate plan? Sustainable energy, after all, must be plentiful, affordable, and reliable.


  1. Jon Boone  

    Thanks, Sherri, for broadcasting this relatively good news that likely Lakes Ontario and Eric will be spared the pox of windscrapers for the foreseeable future. However, the bad news is that this report accepts the false premise that wind technology should play a central role in New York State’s Net Zero scam, urging the state to double down on land-based wind installations by way of compensation. The intellectual dishonesty on display remains breathtaking.


  2. Sherri Lange  

    Thanks, Jon. Yes, perfect observation. We watch with bated breath, to see if possible impacts from this decision may possibly impact wind developments on the coasts, east and west. Or even impact the proposed Icebreaker Demonstration Project in Lake Erie, off of Cleveland. Same lake, shared. The reasons offered by NYSERDA certainly apply universally: costs, environmental disaster, even viewsheds.

    That one seems stalled, likely out of steam re $$$. Who knows if that will ever even show its shoddy head.

    Re the “good” news re NYSERDA, it is indeed a good start, because under the rules passed in 2019, communities must comply with energy projects that offer relief for “climate change.” Hmm.

    Also flies in the fact of Federal aims, to proliferate with “renewables,” which of course, as you have pointed out so many times, are fraudulent ideas, shaky, and seriously logically deficient.

    So we pile on the victories as they come. Next: moratorium, bylaw for all the Lakes, or BAN, as Rich Davenport pointed out so rightly.

    Thanks as ever for commenting.


  3. Michael Spencley  

    As pointed out in the NYSERDA’s White Paper, there is not a single aspect of the Industrial Wind Turbine subsidy grab from developers and their glad-handing political sponsors that offers any value. Finally, a rock of logic jams the green sausage machine as it applies to the Great Lakes.


  4. Michael Spencley  

    As pointed out in the NYSERDA’s White Paper, there is not a single aspect of the Industrial Wind Turbine subsidy grab from developers and their glad-handing political sponsors that offers any value. Finally, a rock of logic jams the green sausage machine as it applies to the Great Lakes. Thanks to Sherri Lange for this great piece of news and to Master Resource for staying on the file.


  5. Sherri Lange  

    Michael Spencley, thank you for your cogent comment. Yes, it would be a green sausage machine, given that the Icebreaker developers promise up to or more than 1500 massive machines in Lake Erie alone. The conclusions are more than obvious, this White Paper’s conclusions, given that the NY Power Authority already arrived at these, some years back, but given the political rush to “renewables,” wind and solar pushing, folks were sincerely worried about the outcome of this Feasibility Study for wind in the Great Lakes. Some thousands of comments were offered by the public, and groups protecting the Lakes, and the FN peoples, and economists, and biologists, and so on. I’m quite sure the political input of Senator George Borrello helped to secure this WP (white paper) outcome, as well.

    Borrello gave creds to the groups around the Lake (Erie) who are fighting industrial wind projects at the NY end.

    “Borrello, an opponent of wind development on the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shorelines, said he was “encouraged” that after nearly two years of study the commission members “came to essentially the same assessment that opponents of this effort have advanced all along: the risks, costs and uncertainties are too great and the possible benefits too little to make a compelling case for these projects.”

    “He credited Citizens Against Wind Turbines in Lake Erie (CAWTILE) and other organizations and individuals for their testimony at hearings, letters and lobbying their representatives on the issue.”

    In the State of the States blog today, Jan 9, 2023, the authors Ry Rivard and Marie French, contemplate what Governor Hochul will say along with New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, in their State addresses.


    Quote: On the climate change battlefront, in 2022, utility regulators finally released an estimate of how much the governor’s clean energy goals would cost, but the usefulness of the report was immediately questioned by many people, though the administration said it showed it was possible to provide clean energy in a way that saved some people money. Add to this the state of offshore wind, where local opposition is entrenched, while the developer of the state’s first offshore wind farm is publicly worrying it won’t be able to make money from the project. It will be interesting if the governor tries to tackle any of this. Unquote.

    So the cost of “green” energy projects is high on the contemplation wire for ALL…the Block Island five turbine project, we know has been a complete utter failure. Complete, Utter. Cautionary for sure.

    It is important to assess that local opposition, is at an all time high pitch fever. Offshore and on.

    Thanks for commenting.


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