NYPA reviews N.Y. Great Lakes wind power proposals

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Power Authority on Friday said it has started reviewing five proposals for wind power projects in state waters on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

NYPA, the state-owned power company, did not name the developers of the proposals or discuss potential costs or sizes, in its release.

Industry sources estimated offshore wind power would cost about $4,000 per kilowatt, versus $2,000 for onshore wind, $4,000 for nuclear, $2,200 for coal, $1,000 for combined-cycle natural gas and $6,200 for solar photovoltaic.

New York, which sought the proposals in December 2009, wants wind power to help meet the state’s renewable energy goals and create clean energy jobs.

In New York, the Great Lakes wind farms would help Gov. David Paterson reach his goal of having 30 percent of the state’s power come from renewable sources by 2015.

Like New York, more than 30 states have put renewable energy requirements on the books to spur job growth, foster a healthier environment and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired plants in an effort to combat global warming.

New York already produces more hydroelectric power than any state east of the Rocky Mountains, primarily at NYPA’s Niagara and St. Lawrence dams. The state also has substantial wind power potential in the Catskill and Adirondack mountains.

About 30 percent of the state’s power comes from its four nuclear power plants, 30 percent from natural gas-fired units, 20 percent from hydropower dams and a little more than 10 percent from coal-fired facilities.

Other renewable sources contribute minimally to the state’s power grid, generating about a little more than 3 percent of the total. But New York is one of the nation’s top generators from municipal solid waste and landfill gas, one of the top 10 states in photovoltaic solar capacity and is fast growing its wind power resources.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid