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Cuyahoga County commissioners on Tuesday approved a $1 million contract to study whether winds off of Lake Erie can provide Northeast Ohio with power and jobs.
The project will help determine the cost-effectiveness, funding sources and benefits of building up to 10 wind turbines off the shore of downtown Cleveland.
The goal is to generate up to 20 megawatts of power for the city and county. That’s enough power for 6,000 homes.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for the region to establish itself in the international wind industry,” said Peter Endres of JW Great Lakes Wind LLC, the company that will manage the study.
The firm is a Cleveland-based subsidiary of juwi international, a German company with expertise in harnessing wind power.
The county, which contributed $200,000 to the contract, is among six different entities helping to pay for the study. The Fund for Our Economic Future and Case Western Reserve University also kicked in $200,000 each. The Cleveland Foundation paid about $300,000; the city of Cleveland paid $85,000 and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority paid $50,000.
The original estimate was $800,000, but the cost went up because research will be included for a possible Cleveland-based certification body for wind turbines.
An energy-development task force formed by the commissioners more than a year ago has been pushing the wind-turbine project. In addition to the turbines on the lake, a wind-energy research facility would be established nearby. Officials have said Case would have a leading role in running the research center.
The center would develop turbine design and technology for an industry that’s in its early stages. That could attract wind-energy manufacturers and suppliers to the region, with the potential for hundreds of jobs.
“This is big business – a big job opportunity,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, who heads the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force.
By Joe Guillen
Plain Dealer Reporter
9 January 2008
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