Our opinion: Take it slow with lake turbines

It’s not surprising that the concept of wind turbines on Lake Erie have passed the state House of Representatives.

The real measure of this proposal will come in the state Senate – if state Rep. Bob Merski’s bill ever makes it out of a Senate committee. Merski, who represents parts of Erie in the state House of Representatives, saw his bill pass in a party line vote. So Democrats will have to persuade at least a few Republicans in the state Senate to break ranks if the state Legislature is going to weigh in on this matter.

It’s worth noting that the issue has been discussed often recently in New York state, with several towns and villages along the Lake Erie shoreline in Chautauqua and Erie counties passing resolutions stating their opposition to wind turbines on the nearest Great Lake. The Lake Erie Foundation, which is based in Ohio, previously went on record to oppose the construction of eight turbines on the waters proposed in the Ice Breaker wind energy proposal to place turbines off the coast of Cleveland. That project was put on hold because the costs to install the turbines was too high.

It’s time to set politics aside on wind turbines on Lake Erie, in our opinion. In New York, of all places, a recent study by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority doesn’t support the placement of turbines in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

“This conclusion is based on a fulsome analysis of the resource development costs, ratepayer impacts, expected State benefits, transmission and interconnection limitations, infrastructure and supply chain constraints, visual impacts, and potential environmental impacts of Great Lakes Wind, as discussed below and throughout the Feasibility Study,” the NYSERDA study states.

Consider the source. New York wears its environmental heart on its sleeve – and even there the wind turbines being proposed couldn’t be supported. So before we sign off on legislation allowing wind turbines on Lake Erie, let’s slow down and do our own study on the issue. Merski is putting the cart before the horse, in our opinion.


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