An offshore wind energy project proposed for installation eight miles off the coast of downtown Cleveland has moved forward due to a required construction permit approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps administers and enforces provisions of the Rivers and Harbors Act and the Clean Water Act.
The approval came after more than two years of review by the Army Corps of the Icebreaker Wind project, which would be the first freshwater wind energy installation in North America.
The findings mirror those from Europe, where freshwater offshore wind farms in similar bodies of water have been in existence for almost 25 years. Issuance of the permit follows last year’s Ohio EPA decision to grant Icebreaker its approval under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, confirming that Icebreaker complies with federal standards relating to water pollution. The Ohio EPA has been delegated the authority to administer and enforce the federal Clean Water Act.
Ohio EPA issues water quality certificates when it finds that a project will not impair water quality within the State.
Icebreaker Wind has already earned approvals and/or permits from more than a dozen local, state and federal agencies responsible for protecting the environment.
“The issuance of the permit represents a big step forward for this thoroughly reviewed project,” said Lorry Wagner, President of the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, which is developing Icebreaker Wind. “It would put Cleveland on the international map as being a progressive leader in clean energy and it would lead to Ohio becoming a participant in the booming $50 billion U.S. Offshore Wind industry.” This project represents the first step toward realizing the substantial potential of making our region a national hub for wind energy.”
Wind energy supports more than 105,000 U.S. jobs, many of which are in more than 500 American factories that fabricate wind turbine parts, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind energy also creates $8 billion in public health savings annually by reducing air pollution that triggers asthma attacks and creates smog.
LEEDCo is continuing to work toward gaining the remaining State approval needed. Icebreaker would be the first fresh water wind energy installation in North America. Construction could start by 2021.