The first offshore wind farm to launch may not be off highly publicized Cape Cod but in the less controversial waters of the North Coast, off Cleveland, Ohio. GE Wind and Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) of Northern Ohio recently announced a long-term partnership beginning with the development of the first fresh water offshore wind farm in the US and involving a broad range of other initiatives. Under the partnership GE will provide direct-drive wind turbines to LEEDCo’s 20-MW offshore wind project in the Ohio waters. “Ohio’s greatest potential for creating wind energy is offshore in Lake Erie, and this partnership marks a significant step forward,” says Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
To kick off the collaboration with LEEDCo, GE has committed to providing offshore wind turbines and maintenance services for the initial 20-MW wind farm. This would be followed by subsequent projects with a long-term goal of 1,000 MW by 2020.
The turbines selected for the project are GE’s next generation design, a 4-MW machine intended for offshore deployment. As the largest turbine in GE’s fleet, it will use direct drives, a design gained through the company’s acquisition of ScanWind. The 4-MW units will feature GE’s load controls and aeroelastically tailored blades. For a closer look at the unit, see Turbine of the Month in this issue. The companies are also planning to identify opportunities for cost reduction to make offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes economically viable. The companies will work jointly on advocacy and public policy issues to increase support for offshore wind energy, and accelerate the growth of America’s offshore wind industry.
Initial cost for the first five turbines is expected to be about $100 million. A developer will be selected this summer and the turbines will be producing power by 2012. WPE
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