Green Energy, President Obama — March 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Obama administration announces Great Lakes offshore wind consortium


This will blow your mind…err…wind turbine

In an effort to jump start a recently-announced $180 million initiative to spur the development of offshore wind energy projects, the Obama administration and the Department of Energy today announced the formation of 5-state, 15-agency consortium in the Great Lakes region to cut through red tape and shorten the licensing period for new offshore developments. (I have written about the various types of offshore wind turbines HERE.)

To remain a leader in the global clean energy economy the United States needs Federal and state governments to execute permitting and review processes in an efficient and effective manner that protects the health and safety of our communities while supporting vital economic growth.

In particular, the excellent offshore wind resource in the Great Lakes region presents a significant opportunity to stimulate economic revitalization. Accordingly, a bipartisan federal-state memorandum of understanding (MOU) has created the new Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to support the efficient, expeditious, orderly and responsible review of proposed offshore wind energy projects in the Great Lakes.

The five states involved are Michigan, Ilinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. A fact sheet on the project can be found HERE (pdf) and the Memorandum of Understanding is HERE (pdf).

The Great Lakes have over 740 gigawatts of potential wind enery production, about a fifth of the nation’s wind energy potential. The consortium is being formed as a “good government” program to improve efficiency in the licensing and development of these projects and is part of President Obama’s “All of the Above” approach to domestic energy resource development. In 2011 the U.S. regained its position as the number one global investor in renewable energy like wind power and this initiative, it is hoped, will make us a leader in offshore wind power as well.

Here’s more from Obama administration officials:

“President Obama is focused on leveraging American energy sources, including increased oil and gas production, the safe development of nuclear power, as well as renewable energy from sources like wind and solar, which is on track to double in the President’s first term,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “This agreement among Federal agencies and Great Lakes states is a smart, practical way to encourage the development of homegrown energy that will create jobs, power homes, and increase help increase our nation’s energy security.”

“As the President has made clear, an American economy that lasts is one built on American energy, designed and produced by American workers,” said Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman. “This effort will allow us to tap into our abundant offshore resources, enhancing our energy security through an all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.”

The MOU will enhance collaboration between Federal and State agencies to speed review of proposed offshore wind projects. Specifically, Federal and State agencies will develop an action plan that sets priorities and recommends steps for achieving efficient and responsible evaluation of proposed offshore wind power projects in the Great Lakes region.

Ironically, a wind energy project that is currently being proposed (though not currently being reviewed by government agencies) is the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo). I say ironic because it’s in Ohio and Ohio isn’t actually IN the consortium.