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Energy department selects Ohio as site for offshore wind development

The federal government awarded a multimillion-dollar offshore wind project to an Ohio company in an effort to develop more secure domestic energy sources Wednesday.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the award for a project on Lake Erie off the coast of Cleveland, one of seven projects across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“(Wednesday’s) announcement of awards to the first offshore wind projects in the U.S. paves the way to a cleaner, more sustainable and more diverse domestic energy portfolio that develops every source of American energy,” Chu said in a statement.

The Ohio project, led by the Lake Erie Development Corporation, calls for nine 3-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines on “ice breaker” monopile foundations designed to reduce ice loading, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The federal government contribution will total up to $4 million for the initial phase of the project. Those funds will be used for the engineering; design and permitting phase of the award, and the U.S. Department of Energy will then later select uo to three projects for construction and installation.

Once selected, the projects will receive up to $47 million each over a four-year period, with Congressional approval.

The offshore installation is scheduled to by fully operational by 2017.