Columbus, Ohio, May 26, 2010 – Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced a new partnership between GE and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) to harness the wind power of Lake Erie and develop the first fresh water offshore wind farm in North America.
Strickland made the announcement at the American Wind Energy Association‘s annual Windpower Conference in Dallas.
“Ohio’s greatest potential for creating advanced energy is offshore in Lake Erie, and this partnership marks a significant step forward,” Strickland said. “In Ohio, we have all the right assets to make offshore wind energy successful, including an innovative workforce and the manufacturing strengths that would allow us to build all the component parts for wind turbines. This partnership will not only advance offshore wind energy technologies, it will also advance Ohio’s economy.”
According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, the partnership and project is a step towards demonstrating the viability of offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes. GE has committed to providing offshore wind turbines and maintenance services for an initial 20-MW wind farm.
Upon its completion, targeted for late 2012, this project would be located off the shores of Lake Erie, near Cleveland. This would be followed by subsequent projects with a long-term goal of 1,000 MW of wind energy in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie by 2020.
This development demonstrates the viability of fresh water wind farms and helps make the Great Lakes a major economic wind energy engine for Northern Ohio, capitalizing on the region’s skilled workforce and expertise in advanced manufacturing.
The LEEDCo — GE partnership builds on the momentum of a four-year effort by The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force and other Ohio partners to establish the viability offshore wind industry on Lake Erie, leveraging the region’s strong manufacturing base and helping the Region to be more energy independent.
In addition to collaborating on the initial 20-MW project, GE and LEEDCo will create a strategic plan to identify opportunities to make offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes economically viable for the nation, and also work jointly on advocacy and public policy issues to increase support for offshore wind energy.