Library filed under Offshore Wind from Ohio
Ice jams and bird and bat deaths will determine the answer
This project should be stayed unless or until it can assure minimal wildlife impacts based on the most rigorous science. The public should thoughtfully educate itself on the project before forming opinion. Icebreaker is the first small wave in a floodtide. Read the record, not just a “windustry” spin-doctor’s selective fantasizing.
The Ohio Power Siting Board has recommended conditional approval of the $126 million Icebreaker six-turbine wind turbine project proposed by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. 8 to 10 miles northwest of downtown. But the staff has included more than 34 conditions. The six-turbine wind farm is expected to look similar to this offshore wind farm near Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean.
North America's first freshwater offshore wind farm scheduled to be constructed in Lake Erie next year is receiving a strong boost from electrical and steel union workers, entrepreneurs and business owners who support the project's job-creation and clean energy potential.
The wind farm's impact of greatest concern to birders and environmentalists involves the potential for high mortality rates due to collisions by birds and bats into the spinning fan blades. LEEDCo acknowledges this fear in its document, but warns that monitoring and documenting casualties from collisions are difficult and pose unique hurdles not found at land-based wind farms.
The project isn’t without detractors. Some worry about storms damaging the turbines. Others wonder whether the foundation can actually break ice. The project is getting international scrutiny, too. Environmental groups in Spain and the United Kingdom recently condemned it.
Environmental groups from Spain, France and the United Kingdom have now joined North American organizations in opposing a plan to build a pilot wind farm in western Lake Erie, near the Ohio shore, along the U.S. side of the border.
The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for the public’s input on what would be the country’s very first fresh water wind farm. The project known as Icebreaker, consists of six wind turbines located 8 to 10 miles offshore north of Cleveland.
But government officials, legal experts and opponents of the Lake Erie project say many hurdles remain before construction can begin. The company has yet to receive the go ahead from a litany of necessary state and federal regulatory bodies.
The only thing Cleveland will gain from the $120 million in federal dollars paid to a foreign company to build this debacle ("Norwegian wind company to build LEEDCo off-shore turbine project," Plain Dealer, Dec. 8) will be obsolete rusting hulks, reminiscent of the Hulett ore unloaders that used to define our lakefront.
What is not being divulged is that there will be no boating zones established, similar to those that exist around water intakes and power plants. Though they cannot be sited in commercial shipping lanes, they will monopolize huge amounts of acreage at the expense of sport and commercial fishing and recreational boating. The London (Ontario) Free Press recently reported that LEEDCo promoters want build 1,600 windmill units, based upon the goal of Lake Erie producing five gigawatts of electricity, leading to much more lake acreage off-limits to boaters.
A Norwegian wind farm developer with experience in the North Sea will build the $120 million pilot wind farm planned for Lake Erie.
Now, an Ohio group is moving ahead with plans to harness Lake Erie’s strong gusts, in sharp contrast to neighbouring Ontario that slapped a moratorium on wind farms in all its Great Lakes amid a public backlash to the spectre of the highrise-sized turbines along its shorelines.
Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair, 220 E. Bayfront Parkway, is providing its 200-foot-long, 1,300-ton crane barge as part of the project, officials announced Wednesday.
"So our vision is over the next 10, 15, 20 years, you see more and more and more wind turbines built in Lake Erie, providing all the electricity up and down the coast and providing a lot of jobs for people to live here," Karpinski added.
A $1 million feasibility study released five years ago this month and paid for, in part, by local taxpayers, warned that the high capital and operating costs of offshore wind would require significant funding from the Energy Department and philanthropic organizations.
A proposed wind farm on Lake Erie has failed to win major federal funding that would have provided nearly $50 million toward the goal of producing wind-powered electricity in a few years. While the so-called Icebreaker project of the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., or LEEDCo, shows promise, the U.S. Department of Energy appeared to judge three other offshore wind energy projects as closer to being ready.
In a letter to Ohio Power Siting Board Chair Thomas Johnson, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) voiced concerns about the 18 MW offshore project and called for a comprehensive review process to protect the region's birds.
Chairman Snitchler and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) yesterday presented LEEDCo (Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation) with a daunting TO DO list of insufficiencies, omissions, and errors in its application for 6-9 industrial wind turbines about 7 miles off the shore of Cleveland.
Birding enthusiasts are not so fast to agree. Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ottawa County, wants to see deeper study. ...Her group worked with the American Bird Conservancy to stop the latest turbine project in northwest Ohio.