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SUBMITTED by David Buisch, Port Bay Improvement Association (14-Dec-2009)

If you don’t have pictures of the beautiful sunsets over Lake Ontario, you might want to start taking some before the view is marred by the field of looming 300 foot wind turbines planned for the lake waters.

Views from Port Bay

The New York Power Authority recently unveiled plans to erect wind farms, 450 foot wind turbines, in Lake Ontario waters. Plans for the project were presented in a meeting of elected officials and community leaders in Oswego, New York on the 13th of November. There was also a small contingency of (uninvited) concerned citizens.

According to the map presented as we understand it, wind farms are planned off the shoreline of:
  • Niagara County
    • 60 turbines near the Niagara River outlet into Lake Ontario 
  • Monroe County
    • 103 turbines spread from Parma to Webster 
  • Wayne County
    • 20 turbines off the shoreline of Williamson east and north of Sodus Bay
    • 106 turbines spread from Sodus Bay, across the Towns of Huron and Wolcott, north of Cayuga County, Town of Sterling
  • Oswego & Jefferson Counties
    • 560 turbines in Mexico Bay 
  • and 205 more turbines as you move into the northeast waters of the lake toward the St. Lawrence Seaway
According to the information provided these are choice locations from the standpoint of wind velocity and suitable water depth (less than 150 feet) for construction of the turbine.

The presentation was made by Richie Kessel, President of the New York Power Authority. It is interesting to note that the President of the Authority is appointed by the New York State Governor. Accordingly, the New York Power Authority does not function under or report to any State department or agency. When New York State created the Authority it effectively stripped the people of the State of any say in matters or decisions taken by the Authority.

The Huron Town Board in its meeting on the November 16, 2009, passed a resolution expressing our opposition to the development of wind farms in the waters of Lake Ontario. It is hoped that we can encourage other towns and the County Board of Supervisors to do the same.

Nothing short of a tremendous outcry from the people can avert this absolute abuse of power. I don’t expect the Governor to appreciate the blight such a move would have on one of the most significant attractions New York State has to offer. In the years I have lived here, I have observed countless numbers of people who make a trip to the bluff and just to watch the splendor of the sunset unfold – every day different from the day before.

The push for developing wind energy in this area of the state peaked three to four years ago. Last year in an informal discussion of the topic with the Huron Supervisor, I passed the remark that all the State would have to do to circumvent negotiations with and resistance from local municipalities, is construct their wind farms in the lake waters. I never expected that a plan would surface so soon. Just imagine a field of 106 turbines looming 300 feet above the surface of the water off the shores of Huron and Wolcott.

Mr. Kessel made a similar attempt to construct wind farms off the shores of Long Island, which attempt failed. I’ve used the simple illustration of the sun set, trying to imagine what this picture would look like with a field of 300 foot wind turbines in the field of vision.

Obviously there other, more significant issues to be considered; property values, tourism, the recreational sport fishing industry, etc., each contributing to the economic stability of the region. And what about the impact on the environment? Surely it would seem that some of the other state agencies concerned with such matters would stand up to this madness.

I think of the impact on the Monarch Butterflies and all the migrating birds that use the lake as a corridor to their destination.

Unfortunately the issue is more about money than anything else. Should you be interested in more information and wish to keep informed of developments, there is a very interesting blog that contains a lot of information – just go to the following link – http://bewarenywind.blogspot.com.

Just imagine this view with 300 foot wind turbines silhouetted against the sky –

The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Board of Directors of the Port Bay Improvement Association.


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1 Comment to "Wind Farms in Lake Ontario"

  1. Terry VanStean Said,

    A couple of weeks ago, I received notice from The New York Power Authority of a public to be hearing to be held in Oswego regarding the siting of wind turbines in Lake Ontario, an idea I adamantly oppose. Let me explain why:

    The governor, in his infinite wisdom, thinks it is a great idea to impair one of our greatest natural resources. Thank goodness our forefathers had the presence of mind to create the largest park in the United States and keep it forever wild, or he would put these in the Adirondacks also. The powers pushing for these won't see them from Albany and New York City, so they won't be disturbed.

    I am an avid supporter of wind power, and have been for many years (long before it was fashionable). I do, however, believe we have an absolute responsibility to site these properly.

    The Great Lakes is a last resort location, and we are not there yet!

    1) The cost is double what it is to build these inland.

    2) The winds are too powerful probably 30% - 40 % of the time and they will have to be shut down,

    3) Maintenance is impossible (extremely dangerous at best) in the winter months.

    4) This will damage our tourism on several levels (aesthetics, recreation and commercial boating/fishing).

    5) Citizens who are already paying outrageous lake shore property taxes will have their view shed impacted and have no say so whatsoever. I suggest you go to Kingston, Ontario and look out at Wolfe Island to get a sense of the impact to our scenic vistas. These can be seen on the horizon from Clayton NY, changing a sunset view that people have paid dearly to obtain.

    6) Placing them in the lake eliminates any benefit (taxes, pilots, energy, etc.) that the communities where these may have gone, would have received. This is the biggest reason they are looking at the lake. Also we would lose any compensation to landowners.

    7) We, the people of NY, will not get cheaper electricity as a result of these project - they cost too much. If anything this will be cause to increase some of the already highest rates in the country.

    8) We will also, per the governor, pay for the transmission of this expensive electricity once it reaches the shore, a cost of probably billions to put the infrastructure in place.

    Where is the benefit to us?

    Leave our Great Lakes alone.....they are not yours to defile Mr. Patterson.
    That public hearing I mentioned....there were negatives brought out by a lot of people. I wrote a note because I could not attend. I was told there would be many more hearings. Then I saw that the governor has sent out an RFP for projects, ready to move ahead. I guess we don't really matter. I would suggest letters to your state representatives to let them know you oppose destroying our Great Lakes.

    Terry VanStean
    Chairman, Town of Lyons Alternate Energy Committee

    Posted on Thu Dec 17, 03:20:00 PM EST


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