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Physical work begins next week on Lake Erie’s experimental wind farm

The first physical work on Lake Erie’s experimental wind farm begins off Cleveland’s shore next week.

Tomorrow, a specialized barge is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland. The vessel will take soil samples from the lake bed to determine what kind of structures are necessary to support the project’s wind turbines.

Dave Karpinski is vice president of the Lake Erie Development Corp., the organization developing the wind farm to prove inland lakes can be energy sources. He says the project’s engineers have soil condition estimates from the site seven miles off-shore. But the actual soil samples are necessary to move forward.

“They’ll take this actual data and compare it to the estimate. So if it’s pretty close to the estimate, there’s not much work to do. If it’s a lot different from the estimates, there might have to be some tweaks to the foundation’s conceptual design. That will happen in June.”

Construction of the wind farm is expected to begin in about three years. It is scheduled to be the nation’s first freshwater wind project. Meanwhile, Karpinski says the project is competing with seven other wind projects for one of three Department of Energy grants. The winners of those $47 million grants will be announced next year.

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