Authorities in the Canadian Province of Ontario are reported to be preparing to lift a longstanding moratorium on development of offshore wind projects in the Ontario portion of the Great Lakes. Wind industry sources confirmed to the Toronto Star that the moratorium's end is imminent. (Toronto visible on NW shore of Lake Ontario, pictured.)
Offshore wind energy, while typically associated with ocean projects, offers significant opportunities in the Great Lakes. According to one study by Helimax Energy Inc., the strong and consistent winds typically over the lakes could generate up to 47,000 megawatts of clean electricity – nearly double Ontario's existing power capacity.
Earlier, the wisdom of the November-2006 announced moratorium had been called into question when it was discovered that some U.S. states, such as Ohio, were actively moving forward with offshore projects in Lake Erie despite the Ontario policy.
Why a moratorium? The usual impetus: property values.
"The biggest issue to most residents was how it affected their view of the lake, which is really only the last natural view we have in our area."
Two proposed projects have been on hold since the moratorium began.
Toronto Hydro Corp. has considered an offshore wind project in Lake Ontario near the Scarborough Bluffs. That wind farm would have a capacity of up to 200 megawatts.
...A more ambitious project by Trillium Power Energy Corp. would involve 140 turbines erected along a shallow stretch of Lake Ontario, about 15 kilometres offshore from Prince Edward County. The wind farm would have a capacity of 710 megawatts, the largest in Ontario.
Important Note: Lake Ontario is bordered on the South by the US State of New York, which also has a hand to play in the wind power game. However, as shown in this bathymetric map of the central part of Lake Ontario, with the Ontario/New York border running east to west across the middle, Ontario has the 5 aces position - a vast area of shallow lake basin far enough off shore as to not be visible. Go Ontario!
Via::The Toronto Star, "Ontario to approve Great Lakes wind power" Image credit::Federal Publications, Inc., "Lake Ontario Satellite Poster" AND NOAA, "Great Lakes Data Rescue Project - Lake Ontario Bathymetry"