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A final report on the feasibility, economic potential and environmental impacts of developing wind energy on the Great Lakes was issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin. The study found that offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes are feasible and could likely be a part of Wisconsin's energy future.

The report, which is the result of an initial investigation into Great Lakes wind development, identifies options for addressing the most significant barriers to the development of offshore wind should the state of Wisconsin decide to pursue this alternative energy source.

"Wisconsin has abundant renewable energy potential, and this report is a road map that puts us on course to tapping one of Wisconsin's tremendous energy resources in the Great Lakes," says PSC Commissioner Mark Meyer. "Offshore wind, by no means, is without its challenges; however, this study is an important step forward that could eventually make offshore wind a reality in Wisconsin, keeping Gov. [Jim] Doyle's vision of energy independence for our state in the crosshairs."

The study group that prepared the report comprises of a diverse member roster representing utilities, environmental organizations, customer and community groups, Native American tribes and state agencies.

All three PSC commissioners agreed that the next likely steps would be to collect wind resources, wildlife and other ecological data, and further study research and development on deep water foundations; initiate discussions with other states and Canada on procuring a construction vessel for the Great Lakes; and begin working with the Wisconsin Legislature to consider legislative changes that would facilitate the development of offshore wind on the Great Lakes.

The final report is available at psc.wi.gov.

SOURCE: Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

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