Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) announced today that it has selected a team of three companies to develop an offshore wind farm on Lake Erie, the first project of its kind in North America.
The three partner companies are Bechtel Development Company, Inc. (Bechtel), Cavallo Great Lakes Ohio Wind, LLC (Cavallo) and Great Lakes Wind Energy, LLC (GLWEnergy). The announcement was made by LEEDCo President Dr. Lorry Wagner, who called the developer selection a major step forward in the process of establishing an offshore wind industry which began with a feasibility analysis and study, initiated nearly four years ago.
“Our ambitious goals demand a world-class execution team,” said Dr. Wagner. “With these three major contributors in place as the developer, we now have the talent and broad range of expertise necessary to start this exciting endeavor.”
Bechtel, Cavallo and GLWEnergy have formed Great Lakes Ohio Wind, LLC (GLOW), the company that will own and develop the project. Speaking on behalf of the developer team, GLWEnergy Managing Director Chris Wissemann said, “We are looking forward to collaborating with all partners, and providing our combined expertise to help bring Northeast Ohio an exciting project and significant alternative source of energy.”
“This is historic. This is the first fresh water off-shore wind project in North America,” said Bill Mason, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and Chair of Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, a unit, created by Cuyahoga County, for the purpose of exploring the legal, technical, environmental, economic, and financial aspects of developing and implementing advanced energy technologies in the county. “I believe it will be the catalyst to drive economic development in our region and create the next generation of jobs for our children.”
The initial project will be a five-turbine, 20 megawatt (MW) pilot wind farm five to ten miles offshore of Cleveland. Construction on the initial phase is tentatively scheduled to commence in late 2012. By 2020, LEEDCo aims to see 1,000 MW of renewable electricity being generated from lake winds and believes the economies of scale that can be obtained when building such large projects will reduce the cost of that energy to attractive levels.
The selection of the developer follows LEEDCo’s May 2010 announcement that General Electric (GE) is the intended supplier of the project’s direct-drive offshore wind turbines and maintenance.
“We want Northern Ohio to be the epicenter of a new freshwater offshore wind power industry with associated manufacturing, shipping, and construction jobs,” said Dr. Wagner. “Today’s milestone will position our region as a model for innovation in clean energy and help spur economic development in Northern Ohio.”