What is the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium?
To remain a leader in the global clean energy economy the United States needs Federal and state
governments to execute permitting and review processes in an efficient and effective manner that protects the health and safety of our communities while supporting vital economic growth.
In particular, the excellent offshore wind resource in the Great Lakes region presents a
significant opportunity to stimulate economic revitalization. Accordingly, a bipartisan federalstate memorandum of understanding (MOU) has created the new Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to support the efficient, expeditious, orderly and responsible review of
proposed offshore wind energy projects in the Great Lakes.
What will the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium do?
Offshore wind proposals must be evaluated for potential social, environmental, cultural, safety
and security impacts by the appropriate Federal and State agencies. The Consortium will enhance coordination among participating federal and Great Lakes state regulatory agencies, working toward the shared goal of coordinating reviews and data collection and dissemination needs to the extent practicable. The MOU facilitates coordinated, regionally-based planning that has the potential to lower costs and improve the efficiency of decisions. The MOU also embodies a fundamental principle of the National Ocean Policy to support sustainable, safe, secure, and
productive access to, and uses of the Great Lakes.
What is the potential for Great Lakes offshore wind and how does this agreement help?
Deployment of offshore wind in the Great Lakes region would stimulate economic revitalization
in key sectors of the economy, diversify the Nation’s energy supply and enhance our national
security by accelerating energy independence efforts, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse
gas emissions. Offshore wind turbines are being used in a number of countries to harness the
energy of the moving air over the oceans and convert it to electricity. The total offshore wind
potential is over 700 gigawatts in the Great Lakes regions. This represents about one-fifth of the
total offshore wind potential in the United States. While offshore wind is an emerging
technology in the United States, over 3800 MW of installed capacity already exists today, mainly
in Europe. Work under the MOU will spur collaboration on innovative ways to address
significant market barriers to offshore wind deployment in a key region of North America, the
Great Lakes. A similar agreement forming the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, has
been successful spurring cooperation and increased efficiencies with respect to wind
development in the Atlantic outer continental shelf.
Why are the federal government and the states signing this agreement now?
The Administration and participating states are committed to building the foundation for a clean
energy economy. In addition, the President has directed federal agencies to speed infrastructure
development through more efficient and effective permitting and environmental review. This
agreement also responds in part to a request to the President by a bipartisan group of the nation’s
governors to establish a combined intergovernmental state-federal task force on wind energy
development in order to help meet America’s domestic energy demands in an environmentally
responsible manner, while reducing the nation’s dependence on imported energy sources and
stimulating state and national economic development.
What is the scope of the Great Lakes Wind Resource?
The map created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory describes the high wind
speeds, corresponding to excellent wind power resources, available in the Great Lakes.
Which federal agencies are parties to the agreement?
The White House Council on Environmental Quality
The U.S. Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Defense
The U.S Department of the Army
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Federal Aviation Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Which Great Lakes states are currently parties to the agreement?
(Note - Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin are NOT a party to the agreement as of this date)