The effort to put wind turbines in Lake Erie has suffered a big setback.
The group behind the effort failed to win a $47 million federal grant that would’ve jumpstarted the long-running project.
But there’s still hope: The U.S. Department of Energy has offered the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. a smaller amount of funding that would allow the nonprofit to continue working on the design of the foundation that the turbines would use, the wind farm’s electrical system and data collection. LEEDCo described that funding as “significant.” The organization, which aims to install nine turbines a few miles off the coast of Cleveland, would not clarify whether it would have to jump through more hoops to get the money.
In December 2012, the department of energy awarded $4 million grants to LEEDCo and six other organizations, all of them representing broader coalitions aiming to build offshore wind farms. Those grants were meant to help them do engineering, site evaluation and planning work.
The department’s original plan was to award larger grants to three of those projects. The chosen projects are located off the coasts of Virginia Beach, Va.; Atlantic City, N.J.; and Coos Bay, Ore.
The department of energy noted that both LEEDCo and another applicant, a coalition involving the University of Maine, “offered additional innovative approaches that, with additional engineering and design, will further enhance the properties of American offshore wind technology options.”
The project in Maine “will receive $3 million and become an alternate for a second round of full demonstration funding,” according to this story that the Portland Press Herald published today.In an email sent to the “friends of LEEDCo,” the organization’s president, Lorry Wagner, wrote that the group was “disappointed” by the news. However, he said LEEDCo would “evaluate other options for moving the project forward.”
“We continue to believe in a bright future for offshore wind power in the Great Lakes and in the technical and commercial viability of our Lake Erie-based project,” he wrote. “Our world class team has a strong track record of overcoming obstacles, and we are confident that together we will find new and innovative solutions to this latest challenge.”
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