Testimony to Support Offshore Wind on Lake Erie

PennEnvironment
Last updated: 12/29/2011

To fully realize our clean energy potential in Pennsylvania, we need to ensure that the Commonwealth is a home to Offshore Wind job creation.

Dear Members of the Senate Environment Resources and Energy Committee,

Thank you for allowing me to submit this written testimony today and for taking up the important issue of Lake Erie wind power.

I would like to respectfully submit this testimony on behalf of PennEnvironment’s citizen members in support of legislation that will allow for the assessment, development, and construction of offshore wind on Lake Erie.

As we’ve already seen, the development of wind power in the Commonwealth has allowed Pennsylvania to create hundreds of new jobs. We believe that promoting wind power off of Lake Erie’s shore can play a pivotal role in further job creation for the state.

Offshore wind offers Pennsylvania the opportunity to help local businesses power the state with clean, renewable energy. In addition, better wind speeds are available offshore than compared to those on land, so offshore wind power’s contribution in terms of electricity supplied is significantly higher.

Offshore wind on Lake Erie offers the state a massive power source. If wind power on the Lake reached its full potential, it could create roughly 2,400 jobs and power up to 800,000 homes in Pennsylvania, producing clean, affordable electricity that is not subject to spikes in prices as nonrenewable sources expire. This would compliment Pennsylvania’s current clean wind power production, which produces enough electricity equivalent to power 200,000 homes annually.

Moreover, wind projects off of Lake Erie could create an entirely new industrial sector in the City of Erie—bringing much-needed manufacturing jobs to the area.

At the same time, this legislation creates no mandates for utility companies and will cost the state nothing. 

Of course environmental studies would have to take place before any turbines are installed, including a bottom survey, the effect on migratory birds, visual impacts, and impacts on wildlife and plants.

 To fully realize our clean, renewable energy potential in Pennsylvania and across the country, we need to ensure that the Commonwealth is able to compete for offshore wind jobs. For these reasons, PennEnvironment supports legislation that will allow for the assessment, development, and construction of offshore wind energy generation facilities on Lake Erie.

 Again, I would like to thank members of the committee for allowing me to submit this written testimony today. I look forward to working with you to pass this important policy and make wind power off of the shores of Lake Erie a reality.

 Sincerely,

Charley Dorsaneo

Clean Energy Associate

PennEnvironment