Lake Erie offshore wind project gets federal funding

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) is leading a team to fund an advanced technology demonstration program to build five to nine wind turbines 7 miles off the coast of Cleveland, Ohio, in Lake Erie.

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The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) reported on Feb. 15 that it has assembled a team of local experts and world-class partners to create pioneering scientific and engineering solutions in the development of the first freshwater offshore wind project in the nation.

LEEDCo’s Icebreaker project is receiving $4 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding beginning Feb. 15, 2013. The award runs through Feb. 15, 2014, and will fund an advanced technology demonstration program to build five to nine wind turbines 7 miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie. Icebreaker is one of seven offshore wind power projects to receive the federal funding, and the only one in the Great Lakes region. LEEDCo’s private partners have committed an additional $1 million in cost share for this portion of the project.

The Icebreaker team consists of approximately a dozen partner organizations from Northeast Ohio, throughout the United States and Europe, where offshore wind is a $200 billion industry. In addition to DOE, the other partners are Siemens, URS, Offshore Design Engineering Ltd., Freshwater Wind, Eranti Engineering, Bayer MaterialScience, Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, COWI (and its U.S. subsidiary Ocean Coastal Consultants), Project Management Consultants and McMahon DeGulis LLP. The group will submit the results of its work and the permitting process to the federal government.

“We are very pleased to be able to assemble this team of experts with the experience and drive to deliver on the potential for wind power on the Great Lakes,” says LEEDCo president Dr. Lorry Wagner. “In one year, we will provide the federal government with a strong plan to provide clean, affordable and reliable offshore wind power to the electric grid and Northeast Ohio customers. I am convinced that we are poised to become the first freshwater wind farm in North America, which will spawn a new wind power industry in Northeast Ohio.”

DOE will evaluate the results of the seven advanced technology demonstration projects and select up to three of those projects to each receive an additional $46 million in funding during a four-year period. To win the next round of funding, within the next year, the LEEDCo team will:

  • Address critical technical objectives, including evaluating and selecting the optimal turbine foundation design; reviewing installation, operations and maintenance methodologies; researching the challenges and solutions for icing conditions; and assessing the technical and financial feasibility of the overall project
  • Complete the necessary permit applications
  • Secure power purchase agreements with potential customers, and address initial interconnectivity considerations