COLUMBUS, Ohio – The review process has resumed for a planned Lake Erie wind farm after the non-profit developer behind the project paid an outstanding bill from state regulators on Thursday.
Officials with the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation filed a document saying they’d paid $150,000 to the Ohio Power Siting Board, the state agency responsible for reviewing and approving wind-turbine projects. Agency review for the project, referred to by LEEDCo as “Icebreaker,” was frozen last week after the Aug. 12 bill went unpaid for weeks.
The filing doesn’t say why LeedCo delayed in paying the bill. An administrative law judge later Thursday ordered the review process to resume, with filings due in October and November.
“We now look forward to an expeditious completion of the permitting process and a swift decision by the Members of the Ohio Power Siting Board, so that the many benefits brought to the region by virtue of this project can be realized,” LEEDCo Vice President Dave Karpinski said in a statement.
LEEDCo previously paid a $50,000 application fee when the project review started in 2017, but the agency’s review costs have exceeded that as the approval process has dragged on due to its complexity and controversy, according to agency staff.
The Icebreaker project envisions building six wind turbines roughly eight miles off the coast of Cleveland, with construction beginning as soon as 2021. When it was launched, the project was budgeted to cost $126 million and provide 20.7 megawatts of electricity. It would be the first freshwater renewable energy project in North America.
The project, which has been discussed for years, has been going through a lengthy review process involving multiple state and federal agencies. It cleared a major regulatory hurdle in May, when developers agreed to a list of 33 project stipulations sought by state regulators that attempt to address environmental and other concerns.
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