Offshore Wind Turbines for Great Lakes Region?

Today the Obama administration announced an agreement that would speed up approval and help expedite the construction of offshore wind turbines across the Great Lakes region.  This new, faster regulatory review aims to quicken the pace of offshore wind farm development without sacrificing safety and environmental concerns, which are always of the utmost importance when new wind farm locations are assessed.  Five of the states surrounding the Great Lakes region have already signed the agreement – Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania.  The other states in the region – Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin – have not signed the agreement but still could at a later time.

The agreement is not a simple one.  More than ten federal agencies are involved, including the Pentagon, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Any new construction would also have to be approved by the federal government and the state in which the wind turbine resides, since states own the land beneath the Great Lakes up to the international border with Canada.  This deal is not unprecedented, however.  A similar deal was struck to facilitate construction of offshore wind turbines across the Atlantic coast, so there is good reason to believe these Great Lakes projects will happen at some point.

Incredible Potential

There are still many hurdles to overcome, but it seems that we are closer than ever to offshore wind power in the Great Lakes region.  There is a huge opportunity here, both for job growth and for growth in the presence of wind energy nationwide.  By most estimates, offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes would generate 700 Gigawatts of power – which would account for 20% of the potential wind power across the country.

While it is important to make sure that these wind turbines are constructed in a way that is safe for both humans and the environment, it is also important to make sure we do not squander a huge opportunity.  It seems inevitable that these types of projects will eventually happen.  The real question is, ‘Are you ready to take advantage of these opportunities?’  Finding out more on how to become a technician is a great place to start.

Additional Information:

CBS Minnesota

NPR News

2 thoughts on “Offshore Wind Turbines for Great Lakes Region?”

  1. Love this topic. It makes so much sense for this country epalcisely, since most of our high density cities are coastal. Property rights & values are a highly regarded American phenomenon, though. Cape Wind in Nantucket, MA was a great example of the contention between these two ideals, but I believe it has since moved forward to the construction phase of their project. The human eye can only see about 4 miles into the horizon from shore, and these turbines are being placed at least that far off shore to pick up the big winds. I hope more come to realize that there is a way for everyone to have their cake and eat it to

    1. Well the Spanish added nearly the same amunot in 10 years and it’s been a big success so it’s likely do-able. Offshore might be more expensive but then there is also a lot more return. It is possible to combine with hydro or combined heat and power plants to even the load but yes older carbon and nuclear plants will still be needed. How many new plants are needed is down to whether efficiency overall can be reduced: negawatts via better insulation and geothermal heating can do a lot of that. Coal to gas tech is also being tried on the firth of Forth and could be tried on other currently abandoned deep coal mines where there is around 200 years worth of coal.The real problem is that the UK doesn’t have the money for any public projects and they didn’t do anything even when they did have the money. With the ever-increasingly huge sums needing to be spent on decommissioning old nuclear plants, unless a miracle happens they have the choice of the private sector or going bankrupt.

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