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Lake Erie Non Profit LEEDCo Wins GE Turbines

Progress was made this week to realizing the nations first wind freshwater wind farm in the shallow and vast expanse of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, by the Lake Erie Energy Development Company.

The local non-profit group LEEDCo snared a deal with General Electric to supply the first five turbines for a $100 million demonstration project by 2012, as the first step of a 10-year plan to build a 200 turbine, 1,000 MW wind farm in the nearly 10,000 square mile lake by 2020, using state-of-the-art 4 MW turbines.Measuring between 200 and 300 feet tall, with blades 150 feet, the turbines will occupy only about half an inch viewed from the shore line, six miles away.

Governor Strickland joined with the non-profit in announcing the deal at the annual conference of the American Wind Energy Association. Next, LEEDCo plans to select the project developer from finalists being interviewed this week, several of whom have global experience.

With wind speeds off-shore of over 30 miles per hour, the lake is ideal for a wind farm, and once underway, there will be no shortage of manpower either, in the rust-belt region’s steel plants, which should have the potential to gear up to produce the giant turbines proposed.

However, the first five 4MW turbines will have to be shipped in from Norway, as no turbines this large are yet made in the US.

But GE predicts that if the entire project gets approved, it could build a facility in the region to build the turbines, noting that offshore turbines are so large — much larger than typical land-based turbines — that they must be built close to where they will be installed.

Officials are uncertain whether the region still has the capacity to produce enough of the heavy steel that would be required. The visionary project still needs to be approved and get financing. Large lakes produce daily temperature changes that result in wind conditions as ideal for wind power as deserts do for solar power, but NIMBY opposition can prevent both.

Getting US giant turbine producer GE involved is a big step forward.


Source:Trading Markets

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