Best practices in Great Lakes wind energy to be advanced through new Wind Collaborative project

May 27, 2009 | News and Announcements

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission will receive $99,740 to fund the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative’s (GLWC) development of Best Practices to Accelerate Wind Power in the Great Lakes Region and Beyond. The Commission was one of 53 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wind energy grant recipients announced by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at the recent WINDPOWER 2009 Conference in Chicago, with Commission staff in attendance. The Commission’s award is one of 11 projects funded in the Great Lakes region. Funded projects totaled $8.5 million nationwide.

Through this project the GLWC, a multi-sector coalition of wind energy stakeholders facilitated by the Great Lakes Commission, will examine the policies and practices that are working best within and beyond the region, which allow wind development yet are protective of the environment and sensitive to community concerns. The GLWC will partner with other regional groups including the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, the Midwestern Governors Association and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to ensure that information developed reaches those best positioned to use that information in developing policy at the state and local level. Additionally, the best practices and policy options developed will be served up publicly on the internet to inform individuals who are interested in wind development in the region.

“The Great Lakes region represents a central and substantial piece of a 20 percent wind future,” said Larry Flowers, principal project leader at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Wind Technology Center. “Regional collaboration, as represented by the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative, to address the common issues, evaluate the local successes, and communicate the benefits of a robust wind energy future in the region is a critical first step toward a cleaner, more secure and prosperous future.”

According to the U.S. DOE, grants awarded will help begin to address market and deployment challenges identified in DOE’s 2008 report 20% Wind Energy by 2030. An analysis conducted by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicates that a 20 percent wind scenario would reduce CO2 emissions in the eight-state Great Lakes region by 1,260 million tons between 2008 and 2030. That same analysis showed that a 20 percent wind scenario would save 616,601 million gallons of water over the same period. That’s 70 times the amount of bottled water consumed in the United States in 2007 or about 90 percent of all Great Lakes water consumptively used in a year.

Some of the Great Lakes states have robust policy structures that have been tried and tested, while others are still in their early stages. This project will help nascent markets develop their own policies more quickly through the development and strategic dissemination of an online “toolbox” of best practices. By enabling states to learn from each other and build a more consistent regional profile for wind siting policies and practices, this work will help overcome barriers and promote the benefits of wind development in the Great Lakes region.

“Development of alternative, sustainable energy sources is a priority for all the states,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, chair of the Great Lakes Commission. “This project will be a valuable resource as Illinois and the other Great Lakes states move forward to meet their energy needs using reliable, yet environmentally sound, approaches.”

“We are quite certain that the development of wind power in the Great Lakes will accelerate in the coming years,” said GLWC Steering Committee Chair Terry Yonker, president, Marine Services Diversified, LLC. “The GLWC has seen the wave approaching and views this grant as key to developing the best policies and practices to insure that wind power development is economically feasible and environmentally sustainable in the binational region. U.S. and Canadian stakeholders need to get this right.”

The GLWC Best Practices project is widely supported by a number of regional and national partners, including the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin; U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Council of State Governments (including their constituent groups – Great Lakes Legislative Caucus and the Midwestern Governors Association), Clean Energy States Alliance, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Said Mark Sinclair, executive director of the Clean Energy States Alliance and co-chair of the GLWC Advisory Committee: “With this new DOE funding, the Great Lakes states will have the resources to work together and with key stakeholders to guide wind development to the most suitable, environmentally suitable locations in the region. This is exactly the type of innovative state/federal/private cooperation that is needed in this country to achieve a clean energy future.”

Increasing wind energy generation will be a critical factor in achieving the Obama Administration’s goals for clean energy and green jobs. The Commission’s new work in this area will help to ensure that wind development in the region is undertaken in ways that protect the environment while growing the economy.

Other groups in the Great Lakes region receiving awards under this DOE funding include:

Clean Energy States Alliance, Inc. (Montpelier, VT) – Wind Powering America State Outreach Project – $100,000

Illinois State University (Normal, IL) – Illinois Wind Working Group –$99,941

RENEW Wisconsin (Madison, WI) – Sowing the Seeds for a Bountiful Harvest: Shaping the Rules and Creating the Tools for Wisconsin’s Next Generation of Wind Farms – $93,348

Windustry (Minneapolis, MN) – Regional Community Wind Conferences – $100,000

The Board of Regents of the UW System (Madison, WI) – A Continuing Education Short Course and Engineering Curriculum to Accelerate Workforce Development in Wind Power Plant Design, Construction, and Operations – $119,135

Lakeshore Technical College (Cleveland, WI) – POWER – Purposeful Partnerships Coordinating Wind Education Resources – $199,236

Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA) – Wind Energy Workforce Development – Engineering, Science, and Technology –$398,456

University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI) – Integration of Wind Energy Systems into Power Engineering Education Programs at UW-Madison –$399,931

University Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI) – Southeast Wisconsin Wind Energy Educational Collaborative – $330,184

Cascade Engineering, Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI) – Cascade Engineering, Inc. Application – Swift Wind Turbine – $100,000

For more information, visit the GLWC online at or contact John Hummer or Victoria Pebbles at the Great Lakes Commission, 734-971-9135.

For immediate release: May 27, 2009  |  Download PDF
 John Hummer, [email protected], office: 734-971-9135
Victoria Pebbles, [email protected], office: 734-971-9135


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Gov. Patrick Quinn (Ill.), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer programinvolving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


For media inquiries, please contact Beth Wanamaker, [email protected].

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