In an effort to meet the federal government’s renewable energy mandates via offshore wind farm development in the wind-rich Great Lakes region of the U.S., Energy Composites Corp. (ECC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) announced in August that it is inviting leaders from government, industry and academia to join a Great Lakes Wind Consortium.
“The Great Lakes themselves are the hidden solution to the nation’s mid-term renewable energy needs,” says Sam Fairchild, ECC’s CEO, noting that wind farm developers have focused for a decade primarily on what has come to be known as the “onshore wind corridor” — from Texas to the Dakotas. The recent recognition of the need to upgrade the nation’s electrical grid, including the development of technologies that will reduce the substantial power loss when electricity is transmitted to heavily populated coastal areas over long distances, makes the onshore option less practical. “While the Obama Administration has targeted substantial federal investment towards solving the grid challenge,” he says, “it likely will be more than a few years before we see real progress there.”
ECC is inviting the governors of the Great Lakes states — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York — to join and lead the consortium, and intends to host a planning session for the consortium later this year.