Next U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Set to Emerge From Lake Erie

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Friday, October 28, 2016

The next U.S. offshore wind farm in the U.S. will probably be almost 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the nearest ocean.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. expects to finalize a deal by yearend with Fred. Olsen Renewables AS to build a 20.7 megawatt wind project in Lake Erie, off the Ohio coast, the president of the Cleveland-based non-profit group said in an interview.

LeedCo is developing the $127 million Icebreaker project to demonstrate that offshore turbines are viable in the Great Lakes, a region with the potential to generate 1,000 megawatts of wind energy by 2020. Construction may start in early 2018. The only U.S. offshore wind farm was completed this year near Block Island, by Deepwater Wind LLC.

“Building offshore wind on the Great Lakes is our best opportunity to generate clean energy locally,” LeedCo President Lorry Wagner said in an interview Wednesday at the American Wind Energy Association Offshore Windpower conference in Warwick, Rhode Island.

The project received a $40 million grant in May from the U.S. Energy Department. Norway-based Fred. Olsen will build, maintain and eventually own the project. Cleveland Public Power has agreed to buy two-thirds of the electricity and LeedCo is negotiating to sell the remainder to other companies.