Governor Strickland announces partnership to create a fresh water offshore wind farm in Lake Erie

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced on May 24, 2010, a new partnership between GE and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) to harness the wind power of Lake Erie and develop the first fresh water offshore wind farm in North America. Strickland made the announcement at the American Wind Energy Association’s annual WINDPOWER Conference in Dallas.

"Ohio’s greatest potential for creating advanced energy is offshore in Lake Erie, and this partnership marks a significant step forward," Strickland said. "In Ohio, we have all the right assets to make offshore wind energy successful, including an innovative workforce and the manufacturing strengths that would allow us to build all the component parts for wind turbines. This partnership will not only advance offshore wind energy technologies, it will also advance Ohio’s economy."

According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, the partnership and project is a significant step towards demonstrating the viability of offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes. GE has committed to providing offshore wind turbines and maintenance services for an initial 20-megawatt wind farm.

"Ohio is well-positioned to lead the nation to energy independence. This announcement further demonstrates how the state is rapidly becoming an ideal location choice for companies in the wind energy industry," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition. "Ohio is a world leader in advanced manufacturing, advanced materials and advanced design. These capabilities are being leveraged to help Ohio become the world’s leading manufacturer of OEM and parts for the advanced energy industry. Every form of advanced energy can be researched, developed and supported in the state—Ohio truly is the State of Perfect Balance."

Upon its completion, targeted for late 2012, this project would be located off the shores of Lake Erie, near Cleveland. This would be followed by subsequent projects with a long-term goal of 1,000 megawatts of wind energy in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie by 2020.

This development demonstrates the viability of fresh water wind farms and helps make the Great Lakes a major economic wind energy engine for Northern Ohio, capitalizing on the region’s skilled workforce and expertise in advanced manufacturing.

The LEEDCo – GE partnership builds on the momentum of a four-year effort by The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force and other Ohio partners to establish the viability offshore wind industry on Lake Erie, leveraging the region’s strong manufacturing base and helping the Region to be more energy independent.

In addition to collaborating on the initial 20-megawatt project, GE and LEEDCo will create a strategic plan to identify opportunities to make offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes economically viable for the nation, and also work jointly on advocacy and public policy issues to increase support for offshore wind energy.

The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio’s economic development efforts.