Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced a partnership between GE and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation to harness the wind power of Lake Erie and develop the first freshwater 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 wind 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 technologies, it will also advance Ohio’s economy. We are eager to continue the state’s strong collaboration with GE and LEEDCo as we pursue this exciting, first of its kind initiative for Lake Erie.”
The partnership and project is a significant step towards accelerating the deployment of offshore wind in the Great Lakes. GE has committed to providing offshore wind turbines and maintenance services for an initial 20-megawatt 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 megawatts in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie by 2020. These activities will support a shared vision of making the Great Lakes a major economic 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 an offshore wind industry on Lake Erie, leveraging the region’s strong manufacturing base.
In addition to collaborating on the initial 20-megawatt project, GE and LEEDCo will create a strategic plan to identify opportunities to make offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes economically viable, and also work jointly on advocacy and public policy issues to increase support for offshore wind energy. For more information go to www.ge.com/energy or www.leedco.org.