TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Wind turbine project in Ohio finds support

By The Associated Press
Saturday, March 22, 2014, 3:42 p.m.
 

CLEVELAND — A nonprofit company proposing wind turbines off the coast of Cleveland to test and pilot a freshwater wind farm on Lake Erie has won support from several environmental groups as it works to win critical state and federal permits.

The Ohio Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and the Earth Day Coalition are among the environmental groups supporting the effort by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports.

The company's so-called icebreaker project will require approvals from various state and federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The company began applying a few weeks ago for the permits necessary to compete with five other offshore wind projects for a $46.7 million investment from the Department of Energy. Three winners are to be announced in May.

Spinning turbines can potentially affect shipping, disrupt views and endanger birds and other wildlife. But Keith Dimoff, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council, says the company completed comprehensive studies demonstrating that the project will deliver cleaner air while avoiding harm to wildlife.

“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,” Dimoff said.

Some birding enthusiasts have said they want to see more in-depth study.

“We're not against wind energy, but we're pro bird,” said Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ottawa County.

Kaufman's group worked with the American Bird Conservancy to stop a turbine project proposed in northwest Ohio. The Air National Guard in January stopped the proposed wind farm at Camp Perry, on the Lake Erie shore, because the bird groups argued the turbines would endanger migrating birds and bald eagles.

But the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. says its environmental impact studies indicate an on-the-water wind farm poses less danger to birds, partly because they migrate over shallower portions of the lake.

“There's a whole lot of agencies looking at our project right now,” company spokesman Eric Ritter said. “None of the agencies have ever permitted an offshore wind farm before. Everybody's a little nervous about the first one.”

The company has secured about $4 million in federal funds to design and engineer the wind farm, but the Department of Energy funding is crucial, Ritter said.

“We think we have a great chance to win it,” he said.

 

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Pittsburgh mayor Peduto goes ‘Undercover’ for CBS reality show
  2. Police arrest 4 in Lincoln-Lemington following shooting
  3. Police arrest 4 juveniles allegedly connected to anonymous online school threat
  4. Search for Duquesne University graduate Kochu continues
  5. 8 Western Pennsylvania municipalities receive state grants to upgrade traffic signals
  6. Vigil honors 6 homeless who died in Pittsburgh in 2014
  7. Pittsburgh’s Hill District revitalization project hits financial hurdle in TIF
  8. Allegheny County district attorney prosecutors move on to state office
  9. Alliance aims to transform vacant parcel in St. Clair to include townhouses, urban farming
  10. Man shot in Allentown home
  11. Squirrel Hill Tunnel maintenance will cause single lane closure Monday night