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Task force set up to study likelihood of wind power

A new task force wants to know if Cuyahoga County's energy future is blowing in the wind. The county commissioners this week appointed a 17-member body to craft an alternative-energy policy that will focus initially on the promise of wind power.

The twin goals are to lessen local demand on fossil fuel and build Greater Cleveland as a center of advanced-energy manufacturing and expertise, said County Commissioner Tim Hagan.

"We'll never see oil below $70 a barrel," Hagan said. "It's time to take a second look at alternatives that might have been too costly before. Maybe now you can save money."

The task force, led by County Prosecutor Bill Mason, will look at the legal issues and viability of establishing wind turbines here.

Over the next six months, the task force will also consider policies to convert public fleets of vehicles to hybrid technology; promote energy-efficient lifestyles; and spur investment in fuel cells, solar power and biofuels, such as ethanol.

Ronn Richard, president of the Cleveland Foundation, is credited with prodding commissioners' interest. Richard is relentlessly promoting advanced energy as an industry with a billion-dollar potential in a region that sorely needs high-tech jobs.

Richard teamed with the Great Lakes Science Center and several public entities to erect the half-million-dollar wind turbine that's supplying up to 7 percent of the science center's energy.

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The twin goals are to lessen local demand on fossil fuel and build Greater Cleveland as a center of advanced-energy manufacturing and expertise, said County Commissioner Tim Hagan.

"We'll never see oil below $70 a barrel," Hagan said. "It's time to take a second look at alternatives that might have been too costly before. Maybe now you can save money."

The task force, led by County Prosecutor Bill Mason, will look at the legal issues and viability of establishing wind turbines here.

Over the next six months, the task force will also consider policies to convert public fleets of vehicles to hybrid technology; promote energy-efficient lifestyles; and spur investment in fuel cells, solar power and biofuels, such as ethanol.

Ronn Richard, president of the Cleveland Foundation, is credited with prodding commissioners' interest. Richard is relentlessly promoting advanced energy as an industry with a billion-dollar potential in a region that sorely needs high-tech jobs.

Richard teamed with the Great Lakes Science Center and several public entities to erect the half-million-dollar wind turbine that's supplying up to 7 percent of the science center's energy.

This region, Richard said, must move faster to take advantage of advanced energy.

"This task force can bring tremendous strength - a lot of capability, contacts and political clout," Richard said.

The region has numerous companies that could manufacture wind turbine components, including Mittal Steel, Alcoa Inc., Parker Hannifin Corp., Lubrizol Corp. and Timken Co., said Andrew Watterson, sustainability manager for Cleveland.

Parker Hannifin and Lubrizol have representatives on the task force.

Cleveland is halfway through a two-year study of wind on the lake, using a metering device on the city's water-intake crib in Lake Erie. Canada has already planned two wind-turbine farms on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, according to Watterson.

Richard Stuebi, the Cleveland Foundation's energy expert, believes the region could have several clusters of giant wind turbines within four years, generating power for tens of thousands of homes.

One Germany-based company is already pitching wind power projects locally. JW Prairie Wind Power LLC is looking at five to six sites in Ohio.

JW Prairie is also trying to attract German wind-turbine manufacturers to Greater Cleveland, said company spokesman Bryan Starry.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

tbreckenridge@plaind.com, 216-999-4695


Source: http://www.cleveland.com/ne...

AUG 12 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3937-task-force-set-up-to-study-likelihood-of-wind-power
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