"We are pleased the option to lease has been approved by the State of Ohio and we look forward to working with incoming Governor John Kasich’s administration to help us realize thiswind turbines project as a first step towards building a high-growth sector for Ohio ," said Dr. Lorry Wagner, LEEDCo President.
According to Dr. Wagner, "The signed lease option brings the project one step closer to making offshore wind farm in Lake Erie a reality, and demonstrates that Ohio is in a leading position to develop the Great Lakes offshore wind energy market and bring thousands of jobs to the region."
The signed lease option, which culminated from a detailed application process with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), gives LEEDCo and Freshwater Wind the exclusive right for up to four years to apply for and negotiate a final submerged land lease for the planned site of the initial wind power project, approximately seven miles northwest of Cleveland Browns Stadium.
LEEDCo and Freshwater Wind expect to install five wind turbines at the proposed site beginning late 2012 in an initial project of approximately 20 megawatts of electric generating capacity. By 2020, LEEDCo aims to see 1,000 MW of offshore wind energy installed in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie, in the ramp up to an economically-competitive and self-sustaining market employing thousands of local citizens.
"The site selected and the concept of a modest-sized initial project is designed to minimize environmental impact while teaching us how to economically and responsibly build the offshore wind industry in Lake Erie," said Dr. Wagner. "We are committed to working with public stakeholders – both local and national- to preserve and protect our natural resources as we promote the emergence of a regional industry to tap this vast energy resource."
Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) is a regional non-profit corporation leading efforts to deploy offshore wind projects in Ohio waters of Lake Erie. Representing Northern Ohio’s public interest in offshore wind, LEEDCo is responsible for assembling a world-class team to develop an initial 20 megawatt (MW) offshore pilot project in Lake Erie near Cleveland with a 1,000 MW target by 2020. Founded in 2009, LEEDCo members include The Cleveland Foundation, NorTech, the City of Cleveland and the Counties of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake.
Freshwater Wind, formerly known as Great Lakes Ohio Wind, is the developer selected by LEEDCo for the Lake Erie offshore wind project. Freshwater Wind will work in cooperation with LEEDCo to engineer, finance, construct, install, and operate offshore wind in Lake Erie.