Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper thinks wind power is the clean energy of the future.
And she’s hoping that her office has a chance to help shape that future as wind energy is developed on Lake Erie.
But more than anything else, she’s hoping local manufacturers can help build the parts and pieces needed to build the infrastructure.
With the unanimous support of County Council, Erie County has joined the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., a nonprofit organization that’s working to bring offshore wind energy to Lake Erie.
That’s more than an abstract idea.
The group is developing a six-turbine pilot project known as Icebreaker that’s expected to be built on leased, submerged land seven to 10 miles off the coast of Cleveland.
Leedco, which began design work on the project in December, is aiming to build an installation capable of producing 18 megawatts. Calculations differ, but each megawatt is usually thought to be enough to power 600 to 1,000 homes.
For the group, Icebreaker is just what the name implies – a first step toward developing the offshore wind industry on Lake Erie.
Dahlkemper said in a statement, “Joining Leedco gives Erie County a seat at the table to ensure our local environmental and economic benefits are maximized and that the best interests of the public are protected as the offshore wind industry grows.”
Dahlkemper said Thursday that she believes in wind energy. But she believes even more strongly that developing that energy can benefit the local economy.
“I think there is great potential for our manufacturing base to be part of this industry they hope to create,” she said.
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