CLEVELAND, Ohio – The pilot project to build six wind turbines in Lake Erie will get another public discussion this week.
The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp, or LEEDCo, is holding a public meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Ave., to talk about some of the details of the project.
The Ohio Power Siting Board requires the meeting as LEEDCo prepares its detailed application to the board, which will then hold a series of formal public hearings. The siting board staff will attend Thursday to answer questions about the formal process.
Thursday’s meeting follows LEEDCo’s announcement this week that additional bird and bat studies – based on radar and acoustical data – indicate that the planned location of the turbines would not likely have “biologically significant impacts to any bird or bat species.” Paul Kerlinger, former director of research for the New Jersey Audubon Society and now principal of an alternative energy consulting company, did the study.
LEEDCo is proposing to build a line of six 3 million watt turbines about seven miles offshore northwest of downtown Cleveland. The power generated by the turbines would be transmitted through a buried cable to the Cleveland Public Power Lake Road substation on North Marginal Road.
Relying on a team of veteran European and U.S. engineers with experience building off-shore wind turbine and oil platforms, LEEDCo is competing with six other proposed off-shore projects for a $46.7 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to fund the construction.
LEEDCo in December 2012 won a $4 million DOE grant to begin detailed engineering plans for the project. LEEDCo is a nonprofit company.
Dubbed Project Icebreaker because the turbine towers will be designed to break up ice flows, the six turbines would be the first offshore freshwater wind farm in the nation if built by the target date of October 2017.
The lake project grew out of more than seven years of effort by the Cleveland Foundation, NorTech, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake and Ashtabula counties.
Wind potential over the lake is the best in Ohio, federal studies have shown, and the aim of the project is to demonstrate its commercial potential.
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