Amid Construction Delays, Wind Project Looks for Buyers

The projected site for Project Icebreaker [LEEDCo]
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Despite construction delays on the first wind farm in the Great Lakes, the company heading the project is looking for buyers for the wind power.

The region’s first offshore wind farm was supposed to be operational by 2018.  Now, it may not be completed until the end of 2019.

According to Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation President Lorry Wagner, the delay is due to a variety of reasons –including engineering issues and state regulations.  Thursday, LEEDCo filed a plan to study the wind farm’s impact on fish and birds.  The absence of these documents prompted the state to reject the project back in April.

There’s also the matter of who will buy the wind energy.  LEEDCo has sold about 60% of the power that the 6 turbine-project is expected to generate. 

Contractor Chadwick Byrd is working to sell the remaining 40%.  “American Municipal Power, or AMP, is going to be purchasing the remaining,” said Chadwick Byrd, Senior Vice President for Fred Olsen Renewables USA, a company working with LEEDCo.  “For them though, they then take that power and then sell it on further to various communities around the area.”

AMP serves communities including Oberlin, Amherst, and Cuyahoga Falls. 

Byrd says Cleveland area hospitals have also shown interest in purchasing power.   Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Public Power have already committed to purchasing 60 percent of the wind power.  

“If you can never get the first project done, there will never be a second project,” said Byrd. 

“We’re just keen on getting this first project, proving technology, making sure people understand this is an industry that is available in the near future.”

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