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December 3, 2009

New York looks to Lakes for offshore wind power

New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel this week announced the release of a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of offshore wind power projects in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario. NYPA said this will be the first wind power initiative in the Great Lakes, and the first wind power development of any kind in a fresh water body in the U.S.

"The development of a wind energy project in the Great Lakes off the shores of New York will bring us another step towards my goal to meet 30 percent of the State's electricity needs from renewable resources by 2015, help demonstrate the significantly untapped potential of offshore wind, and bring new clean energy jobs to Western New York," Governor David Paterson said. ving forward with this truly historic project."

The Power Authority is soliciting proposals for the development of a utility scale, offshore wind power project in the range of 120 megawatts (MW) to 500 MW. Respondents have been asked to include all project costs in their bids. The project would interconnect with new or existing transmission facilities of the appropriate regional electric utilities, which are all controlled by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). The NYISO operates New York's bulk electricity grid and administers the state's wholesale electricity markets. The Power Authority would purchase the full output of the project under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

NYPA anticipates the following deadlines for the RFP process. The date for submitting an optional Notice of Intent to submit a proposal is March 20, 2010. Questions about the RFP will be accepted until April 9, 2010. The due date for proposals is June 1, 2010. Any winning project(s) would be expected to be awarded by December 2010. The target date for completion of the PPA negotiations is May 31, 2011. Prospective developers are requested to periodically check the NYPA Web site (www.nypa.gov) to see if there are any modifications to the dates.

The Power Authority has commissioned the preparation of certain studies related to the project. Pertinent information from such studies will be posted on the NYPA Web site. Those studies include conducting preliminary wind resource, site screening and environmental studies, and other technical studies with respect to the New York waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario to investigate potentially feasible locations for project sites as shown in the RFP.

Respondents may propose projects located anywhere in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario (subject to certain restrictions such as shipping lanes and avian exclusions) that interconnect at any point on the NYISO Transmission System which can receive the project's energy output. Respondents should demonstrate the capability to develop, design, finance, construct, operate and maintain an offshore wind project.

The threshold requirements to determine a proposal's viability include total generating capacity from 120 MW to 500 MW; location within the New York State waters of Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario; capability of project to interconnect with the NYISO Transmission System; plans for mitigating the project's effect on the environment during construction and operation; and the financial capabilities of the developer. The Power Authority will give more favorable consideration to proposals that include: long-term economic benefits for the region including the use of local labor and materials; the manufacturing of wind components; firm pricing; a target commercial operation date in 2015; and a strong likelihood of public acceptance.


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