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Jefferson County says no to NYPA plan for off-shore wind farm

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The New York Power Authority has targeted zones in lakes Ontario and Erie as potential sites for off-shore wind farms. The zones are all more than two miles from shore, and in 150 feet of water or less.

The power authority hopes for up to 500 megawatts of power, and will accept proposals from private developers until June 1.
One of the zones lies between Galloo and Grenadier islands. Another stretches south from Galloo along the eastern end of Lake Ontario. NYPA CEO Richard Kessel came to Watertown this week to ask for the county legislature's support. As Martha Foley reports, he didn't get it.

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The Jefferson County board of legislators voted unanimously Tuesday night against building wind turbines in the waters of eastern Lake Ontario.

The New York Power Authority wants to anchor as many as 166 turbines in the lake-bed, which is owned by New York State.

NYPA CEO Richard Kessel made the long trip from Long Island to Watertown to make his case for the project. But he didn't persuade the skeptics on the county legislature.

Michael Docteur said he and the other legislators had a number of concerns about locating a wind farm offshore. First he said, "how the construction would take place - disturbing the bottom of lake Ontario - that would certainly be a short term problem for aquatic species."

Long-term, Docteur said, the navigation lights on the base of the turbines, as well as lights on hubs of the turbines as the top of the towers, "would be a night-time visual impediment to boaters and of course, aesthetically it would be less than pleasing to property owners along the lake.'

 NYPA hopes other counties will be more positive about off-shore wind development. The Power Authority is accepting proposals for offshore wind projects in New York's Great Lakes until June.

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