Will future sunsets over Lake Erie include windmills?

Jun 26, 2019

Local opposition against building offshore wind farms on Lake Erie is growing. Members of the Erie County Legislature are slated to take up the issue Thursday.

In the future, sunsets over Lake Erie could light up an offshore wind farm that's in the planning stages.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

Diamond Generating Corporation has taken the first step towards building up to three wind farms on Lake Erie by submitting an "Interconnection Request" with the New York Independent System Operator. Part of Erie County Legislator John Mills' district overlooks the lake.  

"There's enough windmills around here on land that they don't need to be putting them in the lake. And in seven years from now the technology may be gone. Now we've got the structures, sitting out in Lake Erie, that are polluting the lake with oil spills off the casings that lubricate the blades and things when they turn, and disturbing the bottom of the lake," Mills said.  

The company's request shows two wind farms connecting to substations in Erie County and one wind farm connecting to a substation in Dunkirk, all by December of 2023. Mills and fellow Legislator Lynn Dixon are sponsoring a resolution scheduled to be voted on tomorrow opposing any wind farms on the Lake. Dixon says she is not opposed to clean energy, but she is opposed to putting numerous windmills in Lake Erie.
"There are many opportunities to place windmills elsewhere. There's no real necessity to put them in the middle of the lake. And it's troublesome for a number of reasons and this isn't against clean energy. We're taking care of our environment. If anything, I would say, it's just the opposite. We are concerned about nature. We are concerned about what happens in the lake. And that's why we oppose them," Dixon said.      

Mills says, if approved, the resolution would start a conversation to force the state and federal government to outlaw windmills on Lake Erie.