The state Public Service Commission is ordering an in-depth study into the possibility of generating wind power on the Great Lakes.
A report from the PSC released Thursday recommends the state launch several studies to determine if wind power is viable on the Great Lakes. Commission member Lauren Azar says they need to determine if developing wind farms out on the water would be economically viable for utilities to pursue.
Azar says the panel wants to track wind speeds on the Great Lakes, so they can see if there's a greater potential for generation on the water than on land. The PSC also wants to study the impact turbines would have on wildlife.
Getting answers could take awhile. Azar says PSC staff suggested collecting wind data for at least three years. However, she says the process could speed up if the results look promising.
Currently, there's nothing stopping utilities from applying to build wind farms on the Great Lakes. However, Azar says the idea remains largely unstudied, and the data they want collected may be needed to ease fears over whether turbines on the water can generate enough power to be economical.