There is a wind farm being planned for Lake Erie called “Icebreaker.” Over 4,500 people in northeast Ohio pledged to purchase electricity from this wind farm, according to Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), which is the non-profit organization planning the project. LEEDCo has been collecting the signatures for this pledge effort since last April.
Lake Erie, in case you didn’t learn in elementary school, is one of the Great Lakes. There is reported to be tremendous offshore wind potential on the Great Lakes. A wind farm in a lake is a bit unusual, but these lakes are huge.
This announcement was made during the POWER UP for Offshore Wind event in Cleveland. The mayor of Cleveland, Frank Jackson, and Rep. Mary Kaptur (D-OH) attended the event and expressed appreciation of the project.
The German company Siemens Corp will manufacture the required wind turbines for this farm, and with manufacturing occurring in the US!
The 20 MW wind farm is expected to create 600 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs. That isn’t bad compared to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which is expected to create only 50 permanent jobs, according to page 25 of a Cornell University study.
Kaptur aptly said: “Wind power is an important source of energy and jobs in Northern Ohio’s future.”
In 2011, 78% (net) of electricity generated in that state was from coal-fired power plants, which means it relies very heavily on high-emissions power plants. Nuclear power accounted for 11% of its net electricity generation, and natural gas 8.9%. These figures are probably different now. However, not likely much.
Joan Savage, a commentator on a Think Progress post about the story, said:
For we who live downwind of the Midwest’s coal-fired power plants, this will be literally a breath of fresh air.
Ohio coal pollution blows east and north, taking acid rain and mercury far into Pennsylvania, New York and New England.
This is one of multiple demonstration wind farms in the US which received $4 million in financial assistance from the US DOE (United States Department of Energy) last year, and it may be America’s first freshwater wind project.
The Department of Energy will decide which 3 of the 7 projects mentioned above to provide with additional funding, funding focused on construction and installation in 2014.
The state of Illinois has previously expressed interest in developing wind energy in Lake Michigan. Governor Pat Quinn also signed the Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act into law. Enthusiasm vanished, according to Think Progress, after the 2010 elections when Democratic governors were replaced with Republican ones in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
According to Think Progress: “Nevertheless, support for offshore wind appears to be building again in the Great Lakes region. Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource of the United States with the potential to supply over 4,000 gigawatts of clean electricity. According to a report commissioned by the Department of Energy, the US offshore wind industry could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation and supply chain jobs, which would drive $70 billion in annual investments by 2030.”
The Department of the Interior (DOI) actually held an auction for the lease of space for renewable energy projects on the US Outer Continental Shelf. This was the first sale of its kind, ever, and almost 165,000 acres were sold.