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Lake Erie's wind touted as possible source for power

But in an interview with The Blade, Larry Flowers of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said he does not envision any offshore turbines being built west of Cleveland because of the lake's fragile ecology on its western end.

One of the U.S. Department of Energy's leading wind-power advocates told two audiences in the Toledo area yesterday that he sees the open waters of Lake Erie as a great possibility for utility-scale turbines.

But in an interview with The Blade, Larry Flowers of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said he does not envision any offshore turbines being built west of Cleveland because of the lake's fragile ecology on its western end.

Western Lake Erie is an important migratory flyway for many bird species as well as being the warmest, shallowest, and most productive part of the Great Lakes for fish reproduction.

Mr. Flowers, team leader of the Energy Department's National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colo., addressed the fifth annual national water conference at the University of Toledo's college of law and a northwest Ohio wind power seminar at UT's Lake Erie Center near Oregon.

Each event drew about 150 people, including several public officials.

Ohio's foray into wind power is in its fledgling stage.

The state's only utility-scale turbines are the four west of Bowling Green that collectively generate enough power for about 3 percent of that city's needs.

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One of the U.S. Department of Energy's leading wind-power advocates told two audiences in the Toledo area yesterday that he sees the open waters of Lake Erie as a great possibility for utility-scale turbines.

But in an interview with The Blade, Larry Flowers of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said he does not envision any offshore turbines being built west of Cleveland because of the lake's fragile ecology on its western end.

Western Lake Erie is an important migratory flyway for many bird species as well as being the warmest, shallowest, and most productive part of the Great Lakes for fish reproduction.

Mr. Flowers, team leader of the Energy Department's National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colo., addressed the fifth annual national water conference at the University of Toledo's college of law and a northwest Ohio wind power seminar at UT's Lake Erie Center near Oregon.

Each event drew about 150 people, including several public officials.

Ohio's foray into wind power is in its fledgling stage.

The state's only utility-scale turbines are the four west of Bowling Green that collectively generate enough power for about 3 percent of that city's needs.

That's roughly enough for a village the size of Woodville or North Baltimore, Ohio.

Those turbines on Thursday received a Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency.

Wind power is one of the world's fastest-growing forms of energy.
It has been developing rapidly off the shores of several European countries.

But a debate rages over the degree to which turbine blades cause mortality among birds and bats despite a Government Accountability Office report in September that said the U.S. wind industry appears to have learned from mistakes and made turbines much safer for wildlife.

In Ohio, the controversy goes beyond environmental groups: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's office near Columbus are among those voicing concerns on a regular basis through a statewide advisory board.

Megan Seymour, a federal Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, yesterday said the two agencies are planning a conference at Maumee Bay State Park June 27-29 that will focus specifically on wildlife issues related to the prospect of generating more wind power in Ohio.

Mr. Flowers said Lake Erie's potential must be explored because the nation is running out of options for generating clean, affordable electricity.

In his interview with The Blade, he said he was pleased that Green Energy Ohio - a nonprofit group that promotes renewable energy and receives half of its $400,000 budget from the Ohio Department of Development - recently started collecting wind data from 165 feet above the lake.

The group installed a tower on top of Cleveland's intake crib last summer to take measurements.

The 125-foot tower was built on top of the 40-foot-high intake crib, creating by far the tallest open-water wind gauge in the Great Lakes region.

Besides being clean and affordable, wind power saves water because its generators don't have to be cooled.

It also helps improve the nation's port security by reducing the need
for as many foreign ships transporting oil, liquefied natural gas, or other fuels, Mr. Flowers said.

Source: http://www.toledoblade.com/...

NOV 19 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/971-lake-erie-s-wind-touted-as-possible-source-for-power
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