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LEEDCo Brings Together Partners and Local Experts for Lake Erie Offshore Wind Project

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) has assembled a team of local experts and world-class partners to create pioneering scientific and engineering solutions in the development of the first freshwater offshore wind project in the nation.

LEEDCo’s “Icebreaker” project is receiving $4 million in Department of Energy (DOE) funding beginning February 15, 2013. The award runs through February 15, 2014, and will fund an advanced technology demonstration program to build five to nine wind turbines seven miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie. Icebreaker is one of seven offshore wind power projects to receive the federal funding, and the only one in the Great Lakes region. LEEDCo’s private partners have committed an additional $1 million in cost share for this portion of the project.

The Icebreaker team consists of approximately a dozen partner organizations from Northeast Ohio, throughout the United States and Europe, where offshore wind is a $200 billion industry. In addition to DOE, the other partners are Siemens, URS, Offshore Design Engineering Ltd., Freshwater Wind, Eranti Engineering, DNV KEMA, Bayer Material Science, Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, COWI (and its U.S. subsidiary Ocean Coastal Consultants), Project Management Consultants, and McMahon DeGulis LLP. The group will submit the results of their work and the permitting process to the federal government.

“We are very pleased to be able to assemble this team of experts with the experience and drive to deliver on the potential for wind power on the Great Lakes,” said LEEDCo President Dr. Lorry Wagner. “In one year, we will provide the federal government with a strong plan to provide clean, affordable and reliable offshore wind power to the electric grid and Northeast Ohio customers. I am convinced that we are poised to become the first freshwater wind farm in North America, which will spawn a new wind power industry in Northeast Ohio.”

DOE will evaluate the results of the seven advanced technology demonstration projects, and select up to three of those projects to each receive an additional $46 million in funding during a four-year period.

To win the next round of funding, within the next year, the LEEDCo team will:

  • Address critical technical objectives, including evaluating and selecting the optimal turbine foundation design; reviewing installation, operations and maintenance methodologies; researching the challenges and solutions for icing conditions; and assessing the technical and financial feasibility of the overall project
  • Complete the necessary permit applications
  • Secure power purchase agreements with potential customers, and address initial interconnectivity considerations

Team members from around the world gathered in Cleveland recently to kick-off the project, discuss their approach and how they will collaborate on breakthrough technologies and materials. Here are some of their initial plans:

“Think of Icebreaker in Lake Erie as the flagship of projects that could be installed in the Great Lakes, which has enormous offshore wind potential,” said Walt Musial, Manager, Offshore Wind and Ocean Power Systems at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

“We are all about innovation and high-tech materials, and this project is going to require that type of innovation,” said Kevin Elsken, Project Manager for Bayer MaterialScience LLC in Pittsburgh. “The issues with corrosion and icing will require great coatings and raw materials, and we think we can help design those materials.”

Thomas Mousten, Head of Offshore Wind, Americas for Siemens Energy Inc., said Icebreaker will give Siemens the opportunity to test new icing technologies that could be applied around the world. “We are working on a de-icing mechanism for the blades. Ice on the blades can cause an imbalance of the rotor, which would require the wind turbine to be shut down until ice is removed. We are working on a way to heat up the blades to reduce the amount of down time due to ice,” Mousten said. Siemens is the number one offshore wind turbine manufacturer in the world. With six U.S. locations including two factories and a Boston-based offshore wind team, Siemens has signaled its strong commitment to the U.S. offshore wind industry.


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