Charest addresses Commission in Quebec, Illinois Lt. Gov. Quinn elected new chair
Speaking at the Great Lakes Commission’s Annual Meeting in Québec City Oct. 6, Québec Premier Jean Charest renewed his government’s commitment to wise use and management of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence water resource as defined by the Great Lakes Basin Compact recently enacted in the United States.
Charest also emphasized Québec’s efforts in developing renewable energy sources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, noting that its natural hydropower assets give the province a significant advantage.
“Québec is the fourth largest producer of hydro power in the world,” said Charest. “We will meet the Kyoto Protocol. Both federal governments need be more aggressive in reducing greenhouse gasses but if the U.S. and Canada put their minds together, we can accomplish what we want to.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn of Illinois is the new Chair of the Great Lakes Commission following elections held at the Annual Meeting. Quinn assumes the Commission leadership from Michigan Lt. Gov. John D. Cherry, Jr. who completed a two-year term as Chair at the meeting. Elected Vice Chair was GLC Wisconsin Commissioner Todd Ambs, who is Administrator of the Division of Water for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
For a slideshow, presentations and more, visit http://www.glc.org/about/glcmeetings.html.
Commission resolutions support development of clean energy sources, new Soo Lock, Chicago Olympic bid
In other action taken at its Annual Meeting, the Commission added its support to development of clean energy sources by passing a resolution urging Congress to extend a Production Tax Credit program providing tax breaks for the first 10 years of a renewable energy facility’s operation. First established in 1992, the program has since expired and been extended three times, and is currently scheduled to expire again in 2009.
The Commission also passed resolutions:
Contact: Tim Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- supporting restoration of the Great Lakes Air Deposition Program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which has announced plans to discontinue funding of the program in 2009.
- renewing support for the building of a second large navigation lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., following a recent mechanical malfunction at the existing Poe Lock that illustrated the risk of reliance on a single large lock linking lakes Superior and the lower Great Lakes.
- endorsing the City of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
AOC meeting draws 150 to Ann Arbor, new LaMP Update available
More than 150 people came to Ann Arbor Sept. 24-25 to attend the U.S. Areas of Concern Program Annual Meeting: Setting Targets, Delisting Impairments and Beyond. The meeting brought together AOC participants from across the basin to review recent developments affecting the AOC program; assess the progress being made toward achieving AOC restoration goals; and consider actions that will strengthen the regional U.S. AOC program.
Online proceedings are being prepared that will include presentations, speaker abstracts, and related materials from the meeting.
In other Great Lakes AOC news, a new publication updating activities of the Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) has been released by the Great Lakes Commission. “LaMPs 2008” is an eight-page, full color brochure with updates on management plans for each of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake St. Clair. It will be distributed at the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference and is available from each of the LaMP administrative contacts, as well as the Great Lakes Commission.
Contact: Matt Doss, email@example.com.
Wisconsin, Michigan issue reports on off-shore wind power
Two state reports assessing the potential for off-shore wind energy generation on their respective Great Lakes waters were released in early October. Note: The Great Lakes Commission and partners are leading a Great Lakes Wind Collaborative to provide a forum to address issues affecting the planning, development and operation of wind power facilities in the Great Lakes region. For more information and to receive updates, visit www.glc.org/energy/wind.
In Wisconsin, a Public Service Commission study found that off-shore wind projects in the Great Lakes are technologically feasible, but have significant technical, economic, environmental and legal challenges to be addressed. According to the study, near term costs of energy generated from off-shore wind will likely exceed the cost of energy generated from terrestrial wind projects, assuming no changes in current technology or energy prices. As off-shore wind technology and operational experience improve, the cost of energy for off-shore wind may decrease.
The study also found that Wisconsin’s existing transmission system could support the development of smaller-scale off-shore wind projects less than 600 MW that are located near a city without substantial upgrades to the system. However, projects larger than about 600 MW may require more substantial upgrades to the existing transmission system, including developing new transmission lines.
While development of off-shore wind in the Great Lakes represents a potential approach to meeting a portion of the state’s long-term energy needs, the development of such projects will require a coordinated effort by state and federal agencies, local government, affected Native American tribes, and possibly the Wisconsin Legislature.
The PSC is looking for the public to comment on the draft report before November 10, 2008. The draft report, Wisconsin’s Off-Shore Wind Investigation, can be found by visiting the PSC website and clicking on the Regulatory Filing System (ERF) at http://psc.wi.gov/.
The Michigan report, produced by the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University, found that Michigan's portion of the Great Lakes has the capacity to produce 321,936 megawatts of electricity from wind energy, a portion of which could be developed once depth, technology, view and environmental concerns are considered. Michigan's onshore wind potential was previously estimated at approximately 16,500 megawatts. The information provided by the new LPI report shows much more substantial opportunities for offshore wind energy.
The report, titled "Michigan's Offshore Wind Potential," prepared by the Institute's Hannah Professor Research Program, incorporates data released in 2008 by AWS Truewind on Great Lakes wind resources with data on turbine spacing, potential turbine power generating capacity, and depth and shoreline distance scenarios. It also provides information on wind turbine build-out scenarios based on these parameters. The report is available on the Land Policy Institute website at www.landpolicy.msu.edu.
Contact: John Hummer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small Harbors Coalition takes another step toward solving harbor access problems
The fledgling Michigan Small Harbors Coalition met Sept. 30 in Bay City, Mich., to further explore legislative and other strategies to reform the dredging appropriation process for recreational harbors. The 72 participants at the meeting included representatives of more than 40 small harbors whose communities have passed resolutions supporting the Coalition.
Chair Pro Tem Chuck May of Portage Lake congratulated Coalition members for marshaling the support, in less than a year, of communities and organizations representing over 1 million people in Michigan. Also in attendance were representatives of small harbor interests in Wisconsin and Ohio, as the Coalition has expressed its intention to eventually expand to a Great Lakes-wide scope.
Among actions taken at the meeting were plans to pursue near-term, mid-term and long-term strategies to better plead the case of dredging needs for small harbors to federal agencies and legislators; work closely with deep draft harbor interests, including the Lake Carriers’ Association, to reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund; and ultimately seek legislative change through the Water Resource Development Act of 2009 to provide an ongoing, sustainable source of funding for shallow draft harbor maintenance.
Contact: Dave Knight, email@example.com.