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Letter to Lake Erie boaters 

Author:  | Aesthetics, Economics, Environment, New York, Ohio

Hello, Ohio Yachting and Boating Clubs –

You may not be aware of an ambitious project underway that could affect Ohio recreational boating, fishing and watersports in a largely negative manner. Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), an economic development corporation, is a private, nonprofit enterprise representing Northern Ohio’s public interests in offshore wind. LEEDCo is leading Northern Ohio’s regional efforts to build, install, and deploy an initial 20-megawatt (MW) offshore wind pilot project near Cleveland in Lake Erie. LEEDCo hopes to place 5 to 8 industrial offshore wind turbines in Lake Erie beginning in 2012. If this happens – the camel’s head is in the tent. Should their trial pilot project be deemed successful – the next step would, of course, be to develop a much larger scale wind factory(s) consisting of dozens, perhaps thousands of offshore turbines in Lake Erie and this will have a tremendous negative impact on water recreation activities. Ohio’s offshore wind energy development must be stopped before this takes place! LEEDCo is not telling you about the many negatives involved as they are aware that an adverse reaction will soon take place – we are helping that along – please read on. The sales pitch and ultimate goal of their efforts is mainly to produce jobs for Ohio – a noble and worthwhile ambition except for the numerous negatives that will accompany this sideshow technology. Wind advocates will not share the downside story but instead magnify the benefits hyped by wind energy supporters. What is now happening in the Cleveland area with LEEDCo is the beginning of the exploitation of beautiful Lake Erie. And since Lake Erie is a very shallow lake – bathymetry is not a factor limiting offshore turbine placement throughout the lake. This treatise will reveal the many negatives LEEDCO is hiding from those who enjoy water recreation in Lake Erie and deserve to know the truth – read on..

At an offshore wind conference in April 2011 at the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) – a LEEDCo representative, Drew Pierson, presented this information. He said Lake Erie had the offshore capacity for 68,00Mw of power. Assuming each offshore turbine generates 4 Mw – he’s indicating that 17,000 turbines could be placed in the lake – and that of course would not include Ontario, Canada. Now think about how 17,000 turbines would affect boating in Lake Erie off Ohio’s coast to the Canadian border in the middle of the lake! Is this acceptable?

Now consider this quote from the Cleveland’s WKYC TV website on May 25, 2011: Lorain (Ohio) Commissioner Ted Kalo, a LEEDCo Board Member who has been involved with this project before the creation of LEEDCo, has always stated “this is not about installing wind turbines in Lake Erie, it is about creating new industry and jobs for Lorain County and Northern Ohio.” Kalo is right – this whole process isn’t to promote wind energy because wind doesn’t work or deliver as promoted and promised. The whole LEEDCo effort exists to create jobs for Ohio folks – at the expense of beautiful Lake Erie. LEEDCo is going to destroy Lake Erie for these jobs and the LEEDCo 8-turbine pilot project is merely the beginning of 17,000 turbines in Lake Erie. Imagine what Lake Erie would look like with 17,000 turbines in the lake for the rest of your life. Ohio is now taking the first steps toward that end and NOBODY knows this is happening!!!!!!! If there’s a need to find “green” jobs for thousands of Ohio people let them build electric cars people can afford to buy.


There is not one company presently manufacturing offshore turbines in America. There is only ONE operating freshwater offshore wind plant in the world – in Sweden. If the LEEDCo project does move forward it will boost the economy of wherever the turbines are built – Denmark, Germany, Spain or the Asian community – NOT Ohio. The turbines being used in the Cleveland project are NOT made in America. Are you aware of the recent huge world-wide job losses by people employed in the terrestrial wind turbine business as a result of diminished wind farm interest and the subsidies cut backs? Are you aware that low natural gas prices have dealt a severe blow to wind development and the gas prices are expected to remain low for years? Are you aware of the debacle the onshore Lackawanna Steel Winds project, near Buffalo (on Lake Erie’s shore), has been with constant rotor blade failures and gearbox breakdowns on their Clipper Liberty 2.5mw turbines? Less than half of these Steel Winds turbines have run early this year. The Steel Winds II wind factory was supposed to be completed in 2010 and has never even begun – the honeymoon is over!

The most valuable and desirable property in most any community is waterfront property. Waterfront property is usually taxed the highest in any town for obvious reasons. Does your waterfront community have any idea what impact the erection of dozens of offshore turbines will have on their waterscape? Are the Lake Erie lakefront property owners even aware of the ambitious plans of LEEDCo to promote this current obsession with wind power to the point where the renewable revolution could cause thousands of offshore turbines to be planted well within sight of their lovely lakeshore homes and forever devastate the value of their investment? Much less their peace of mind or even their health? What LEEDCo, with support from the state of Ohio, is proposing is economically and technological reckless. Politicos have been sold a false bill of goods based on misleading representation by greed stricken wind charlatans who have one goal amongst themselves – money and more money and nothing else. What LEEDCo is proposing is a statewide assault on residential health, drinking water, natural resources and the environment. It is time to end the half-truths, lies, and exaggerations by those embracing this junk science. Do you want your community lakeshore to look like this?

In New York State during the past fifteen months – seven lakeshore counties passed resolutions indicating they didn’t want the Great Lakes Offshore Wind (GLOW) project offshore from their county – a 166 offshore turbine project currently being promoted by the New York Power Authority. These decisions came after each county individually studied all the issues surrounding the pros and cons of an industrial offshore wind project and its potential benefit to the county. Our committee assisted by presenting literally dozens of negatives the elected officials never knew about or thought of. In addition to the seven counties that rejected GLOW offshore wind – numerous lakeshore towns also passed resolutions against GLOW. In February this year the province of Ontario, Canada passed a moratorium against offshore wind development in the Great Lakes ending any further offshore wind progress in four Great Lakes that border Ontario including Lake Erie. If just one wind factory is permitted to exist in any of the Great Lakes – the lakes will fall victim to thousands of these 450?+ tall behemoths and transform the lakes into a steel forest for the rest of our lives. WE cannot let this happen.

Industrial wind energy (IWE) is not clean. Industrial wind turbines (IWTs) require oil and other fluids (lubricants, hydraulics fluids, coolants, etc) in the nacelles, up to 200 plus gallons each, oil that must be changed periodically and disposed of, oil that leaks and is released into the environment when IWTs collapse or catch on fire. IWTs also require a rare earth mineral for their powerful magnets called neodymium, currently mined primarily in China. Other than small amounts of rare earths being mined recently in California, rare earths are mined in China – processing the material is a toxic process that is harmful to humans and animals. We don’t seem to mind destroying the lives and health of Chinese citizens for our own selfish needs, but be sure, it is primarily mined in China because human rights are disregarded there. Also regarding “clean”, the life expectancy of offshore IWTs is about 20 years, and once they have failed and are no longer maintained, have been left to rust in other places, like Hawaii and California, leaving vast metal and mineral junkyards to litter the viewshed for decades. Is that the future of our precious Great Lakes?

Also, what is clean about disturbing the lake bottom and decades of accumulated toxins on the lake bottom by driving a turbine monopile deep into the lake floor for each turbine placement and then trenching miles of the lake bottom for transmission cable placement? How is that clean for drinking water, beaches, and marine life? What is clean about noise from turbine foghorns and the whooshing sounds of 166 turbine rotors, as well as maintenance helicopters creating noise pollution? What is clean about the visual disturbances and loss of darkness created by FAA mandated flashing red strobe lights atop the nacelles and Coast Guard mandated navigation lights mounted on the towers for boater safety? Wind is intermittent, and the existing coal fired power plants will not only be required to keep running and polluting, but the frequent ramping up and down (called “cycling”) that will occur to accommodate IWE is known to cause even more CO2 than they currently produce.

What are the benefits of offshore wind development?

IWE is not low-cost. Recent lowering of natural gas prices, along with nuclear, account for far less expensive electricity than IWE. After solar, wind is the most expensive. GLOW is projected to cost up to $1.5 billion to develop. If you review other IWE projects in the U.S. and around the world, you will see that projected costs NEVER, anywhere in the world, meet original projections. A recent example is the Deepwater Wind farm proposed offshore from Block Island, R.I. Originally pegged at $390 million, it is most recently expected to cost about $415 million (Providence Business News, 4/25/2011). As a result, two large plastic manufacturers have already brought lawsuits against Deepwater Wind and National Grid, stating this would add millions to their annual electric bills. The R.I. Supreme Court agrees, and has allowed the lawsuit to continue. Cape Wind is another good example; increasing original projected costs three fold within one year. Examples are endless, but that is just the beginning. The cost of transmitting this power is three to four times more costly than traditional sources, all costs that are passed on to ratepayers. Taxpayers will pay for IWE forever, as it is not sustainable without government subsidies and tax breaks. As a result, IWT manufacturers and developers from around the world are hiring the best, highest paid lobbyists they can find to help siphon government subsidies and take advantage of “renewable” energy tax breaks. The responsibility for this whole mess rests on the shoulders of legislators, yes state and federal legislators who have mandated that electricity must obtain a percentage of its energy from “renewable” sources, called a Renewable Portfolio Standard. Being seen “green” these days in critical to re-election. Therefore, our own government has allowed, if not forced, this scamming industry to flourish. As a result, businesses will be forced out of existence and ratepayers will have to change their spending habits to pay for electricity. Finally, there are no offshore IWTs or transmission cables manufactured in the U.S., so the billions of dollars needed to purchase these monstrosities will go directly from U.S. pockets to Europe and China. Most people boosting IWE are those who have a financial interest or something tangible to gain. Property values have already been mentioned. And let’s not forget about tourism, waterfront businesses, boating, tourism, commercial fishing, and other businesses that rely on recreational use of the lake and shore, all significant contributors to the regional economy. Power purchased through a power purchase agreement with the developer will be several times more costly than current conventionally generated electricity, yet another financial burden for local businesses. Taxpayer will finance 50% to 60% of a wind factory and the financial benefit could be enjoyed by foreigners to boot.

IWE is not reliable. It is intermittent, unreliable, low quality, volatile and unpredictable. IWE works 30% of the time, at best. No one can predict or plan around wind. It blows at the right speed to produce energy when it does. Recently in Lackawanna, N.Y., the eight IWTs along the shore of Lake Erie were shut down during high winds to prevent damage. In recent months, many have been idle due to mechanical failures that have plagued this project since the beginning. Last year in the U.K., the John Muir Trust found that Britain’s wind farms produced just 21% energy most of the time. In December and January, IWTs froze, and Britain was forced to purchase nuclear power from France and pay to have it transmitted, while still paying for its own IWTs. Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, Britain’s grid operator (with a presence in NYS as well!), said families would “have to get used to only using power when it was available rather than constantly” because of a six-fold increase in wind energy generation. He told BBC’s Radio 4, “We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it…. We are going to change our own behavior and consume it when it is available and available cheaply”. THAT IS OUR ENERGY FUTURE UNLESS WE STOP THIS NONSENSE NOW.

“Commitment to the environment and safety”? The Great Lakes provide the largest fresh water source in the U.S. Drinking water is now safer than it has been in decades, thanks to the efforts of the IJC, DEC, and federal and state governments that jointly started clean-up efforts in 1980. Until then, multiple toxins including PCBs, dioxin, mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, and others were filtering into the lakes from agriculture and industry, largely unregulated, and poisoning lake users and the environment. Much of this toxic soup is now believed to be encapsulated, buried beneath years of cleaner sediment and sand. The LEEDCO project and future offshore wind development will cause tremendous sediment displacement. Potential exposure of these toxins could take us back to the pollution and devastation of decades past, when fish deformities and tumors were the norm, when there were restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption, beaches were closed, and there were drinking water problems. Further, in many places, like Wolfe Island, Canada (eastern Lake Ontario region), where 600 birds and 1,200 bats were slaughtered by IWT blades in the first six months of operation alone, IWTs are referred to as “avian cuisinarts”. The Wall Street Journal published an article on 9/7/09 called “Windmills Are Killing Our Birds”, citing the Altamont Pass wind farm east of Oakland, CA. The article complains that IWTs slaughter 100 times as many birds EVERY YEAR as Exxon Mobil’s oil tanks, and Exxon paid $600,000 in fines in one year alone (in accordance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918), while the wind farm owners pay nothing. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year, yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against the wind companies.

As mentioned, no offshore IWTs are currently manufactured in the U.S., and neither is underwater transmission cable linking the turbines together electronically. As noted from the Rhode Island lawsuit, businesses will be unable to meet escalated electricity costs, and other than lawyers profiting from lawsuits against wind developers, jobs will be lost. Throughout Europe, where wind farms are more prevalent, job loss reports are well documented. Italy reports 5 job losses for every job created by IWE, and remaining countries report between 2-4 jobs lost for every job created. Would the Ohio’s project be the only wind project in the world to create more jobs than losses? Doubtful! Ohio’s projects would, on the other hand, boost the economy of wherever the transmission cables & turbines are built – Denmark, Germany, Spain, or in Asia – NOT Ohio. You should also be aware of the recent huge job losses by employees of the terrestrial wind turbine industry as a result of diminished IWE interest and subsidy cutbacks and low natural gas prices.

How will the LEEDCo project affect Lake Erie boating and yachting?

  • Lake Erie seascape aesthetics will forever be lost & instead be replaced by offshore wind turbines – the dreams of self- serving, politically driven wind advocates who view Lake Erie as the perfect site for this sideshow technology. Municipality rejection of this hit ’n’ miss nightmare is now avoided.
  • Navigation over Lake Erie will become limited. Go-nogo boating zones may be created
  • Foghorns will become an annoyance during foggy weather
  • Offshore turbines, obstacles, will be a danger during foggy or stormy weather
  • Offshore turbines attract lightening
  • Offshore turbines will leak fluids (oils, coolants, hydraulics, lubricants) – into the lake that will contaminate the water and harm marine life
  • Water will become filthy during and after wind factory development as a result of sediment displacement caused by driving the turbine monopiles into the lakebed and the trenching of miles of the lakebed for transmission cable burial. The same thing will happen again IF the turbines are ever decommissioned and removed from the lake long after you’re gone
  • Nighttime darkness will instead be replaced by bright red flashing strobe lights atop offshore turbines – due to FAA requirements
  • Coast Guard requirements will likely mandate lighting of the turbines from top to bottom for boating safety.
  • There is the potential for your anchor to pierce a transmission cable
  • Stray voltage (also known as dirty electricity) can have an impact on marine life as it has on farm animals
  • The beautiful views mariners have taken for granted since day one will become a remembrance and replaced by 450’ tall behemoths that generate noise, reflect the sunlight from their rotor blades and cause annoying shadowing from rotor blades
  • Turbines will be abandoned after 15 years because all the tax benefits had been captured, performance has deteriorated, newer more efficient technology has replaced the steel forests, or maintenance & repair costs become prohibitive. Have a look at the Altamont wind project in California for reference.
  • Offshore turbines will affect weather radar, GPS units, and boating communication and this has already been proven and well documented
  • Will turbines topple as a result of Lake Erie spring ice movement? Time will tell.

Time is the enemy of the wind developers, because as more people learn the bitter truth about offshore wind, its high cost, intermittency, low quality, volatility, complete lack of electric base-load, environmental treachery – people will no longer believe the half-truths, exaggerations, and lies of those promoting this inefficient technology. The wind junk science will drive America into fuel poverty, cause a massive transfer of wealth to the foreigners that manufacture and install offshore turbines and prevent directing US investment money into more promising electrical generating technology.

To commence this project is contrary to Ohio’s Public Trust Doctrine

LEEDCo’s project is incongruous with the Ohio’s State Public Trust Doctrine established in 1803. Ohio, as sovereign, has an obligation to protect the public trust held waters and land beneath Lake Erie for the public good and minimize the occupation of public trust lands for private benefit. The state should not grant LEEDCo, a private corporation, the right to take control of the lake bottom or pass that right on to another private corporation for industrial wind farm construction. This would be a breach of the trust that Ohio has been given the responsibility to uphold. Certainly, the legality of such a decision would be vigorously challenged. Could LEEDCo sell the lease to China or some other foreign entity and endanger the infrastructure like has happened in NYS with Iberdrola?

Offshore wind is not about the need for quality electricity, or to help halt global warming, reduce the carbon footprint, smog, or eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) – wind is about greed and money and nothing more! LEEDCO with Ohio’s blessing has begun a statewide assault on residents health, property values, drinking water quality, waterscape aesthetics. The sacrifice of Lake Erie by Ohio is environmental treachery by opportunist politicians and their clients to promote a junk science that is proven to be economically and technologically reckless. A moneywaster!

Please share this with your club directors and staff, post this letter on your club bulletin board, put it onto your club website, tell other Lake Erie boaters & fishermen about this – pass the word as best possible as few people really know and understand how the LEEDCo project will haunt them. Ohio boaters – you must take action against this right now!


Alan Isselhard
Member Great Lakes Concerned Citizens
Member Great Lakes Wind Truth

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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