Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, a regional nonprofit working towards the deployment offshore wind projects in Ohio’s Lake Erie waters, has picked three companies to form a consortium that will own and develop what could be the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America.
Great Lakes Ohio Wind, L.L.C. will comprise global project developer and financer Bechtel Development Company, Inc.; energy company Cavallo Great Lakes Ohio Wind, L.L.C.; and Great Lakes Wind Energy, L.L.C. The last is an Ohio-based company created specifically to build offshore wind projects in the lake.
Already, the consortium is planning to build a $100 million offshore wind project that will have an initial 20-megawatt capacity through five wind turbines to be installed give to 10 miles off the shore of Cleveland. The project will start construction by late 2012.
Lake Erie Energy Development plans to raise the project’s capacity to 1,000 MW by 2020.
“Our ambitious goals demand a world-class execution team,” said Lorry Wagner, president of Lake Erie Energy Development. “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.”
A study by Kleinhenz & Associates shows that offshore wind in Lake Erie, Ohio has the potential to generate 15,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in public revenues for the state.
That is assuming Ohio is able to build its own offshore wind industry cluster and much less economic activity would need to be imported outside it.
“We want northern Ohio to be the epicenter of a new freshwater offshore wind power industry with associated manufacturing, shipping and construction jobs,” Mr. Wagner said.