The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) recently announced that several key environmental groups support Icebreaker, the 6-turbine offshore wind pilot project in Lake Erie, the first of its kind in the Great Lakes region.
In letters posted on LEEDCo’s website, The Ohio Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy, Environment Ohio, The Sierra Club, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Ohio Interfaith Power & Light, and Earth Day Coalition commend Icebreaker as a responsible first step toward building a new clean energy industry in Ohio.
Support from the environmental community is crucial for Icebreaker to secure the permits it needs to begin construction. The letters were included in recently filed permit applications with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Power Siting Board, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and several other state and federal regulatory agencies. Those applications also included an environmental assessment determining that the pilot project poses no significant risk to the birds and bats that frequent the area.
The Ohio Environmental Council (The OEC), the largest state-wide, membership-based environmental advocacy organization in Ohio, congratulates LEEDCo for balancing the need to develop a new sustainable source of electricity with the need to protect water quality, the fisheries, and migratory bird paths over and around Lake Erie.
“LEEDCo has completed comprehensive studies, which demonstrate that Icebreaker will deliver cleaner air while avoiding harm to wildlife,” says Keith Dimoff, executive director at The OEC. “The State of Ohio has an urgent need for more local sources of clean energy, and offshore wind could become a big part of the solution.”
“Starting with a pilot project is a very prudent approach,” says Bob Shields, chair of the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization. “Icebreaker will be an important data collection center to ensure future wind energy development in Lake Erie is done responsibly.”
Additional letters describe offshore wind as an attractive option for the Great Lakes because it emits no pollution, can achieve significant scale, and can be developed in a responsible and economical way. The letters point out that the Great Lakes region holds over 700 GW of offshore wind power potential, and is the most dependent region in the country on electricity from coal fired power plants.
LEEDCo is completing the engineering design, securing power purchase agreements and project finance, and developing the local supply chain. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2017. Icebreaker is competing with five offshore wind projects for an additional $46.7 million investment from the U.S. Department of Energy. Three of the projects will be selected in May.
Filed Under: News, Offshore wind, Projects