Here’s a link to a blog post on Climate Progress about a push for new wind power development on Lake Erie.
Over 4,500 customers in northeast Ohio have pledged to buy electricity from offshore wind turbines seven miles off of Cleveland’s shore in Lake Erie, according to the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), the nonprofit organization planning the project. The announcement was made last week during the “POWER UP for Offshore Wind” event in Cleveland.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Rep. Mary Kaptur (D-OH) both were in attendance and praised the project. “Wind power is an important source of energy and jobs in Northern Ohio’s future,” Kaptur said.
Since April, LEEDCo has been collecting signatures from supporters who say they will buy electricity, even at higher prices, from the offshore wind farm called, “Icebreaker.” The goal of having potential customers sign the POWER Pledge is to show power companies the growing consumer demand for wind energy. Kaptur even signed the pledge at the event.
The Icebreaker project will generate 20 megawatts of power, is estimated to create 600 construction jobs, and then 60 permanent jobs. LEEDCo has chosen Siemens Corp. of Germany to build the turbines, but in U.S. factories — benefiting the wind supply chain in America. The power generated won’t significantly change Ohio’s electricity portfolio, but it does set the stage for Ohio to lead the Great Lakes region in renewable energy.
Illinois has also expressed interest in developing offshore wind energy on Lake Michigan. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the “Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act” into law on August 7. The law created a council to study offshore wind energy projects. Wind turbines will not be popping up on Lake Michigan anytime soon, but Illinois has taken a major step in the process of developing the energy source.
Offshore wind means permanent jobs and long term business development for the Great Lakes region. Urban areas along the coastlines can take all the energy that Great Lakes turbines can produce, and it’s a lot.