Lake Erie wind project wins 5 million in funding

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $5 million in new funding for Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), the non-profit corporation leading the effort for the first freshwater offshore wind project in the nation.

Through a one-year cooperative agreement, the DOE has committed $4 million to support the advancement of the offshore wind energy project known as Icebreaker, which consists of five to nine wind turbines seven miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie. LEEDCo's private partners committed an additional $1 million in cost share as part of the agreement.

Icebreaker is one of only seven offshore wind energy projects that DOE awarded funding and the only one in the Great Lakes. The selected demonstration projects will help address key challenges associated with installing utility-scale offshore wind turbines, connecting offshore turbines to the power grid, and navigating new permitting and approval processes.

The DOE is making available up to $180 million over the next five years to help accelerate the deployment of breakthrough wind power technologies. Icebreaker could potentially receive an additional $46.7 million in federal funding.

Among LEEDCo's winning development team for the project are Case Western Reserve University, McMahon DeGulis, Freshwater Wind, Siemens, and DNV KEMA. The strength of this team comes from combining international partners who have first-hand offshore wind experience with local partners who add value by possessing knowledge of the Lake Erie environment as well as the regional labor force.

For example, with the recently completed 1,000 MW London Array, Siemens has now supplied the world's largest, in addition to the world's first, offshore projects. The company holds 80 percent of the offshore market share in Europe and recently contracted to deliver 300 of its new 6 MW turbines to leading offshore wind farm developer Dong Energy.

Locally, McMahon DeGulis' expertise in renewable energy permitting helped LEEDCo to advance through the regulatory processes. CWRU has studied ice and wind data at the Cleveland water intake crib since 2005, and has received several grants for offshore wind research. DNV KEMA has conducted project certification and design verification for 44 offshore wind projects globally.

The elite team of LEEDCo partners recognizes the enormous opportunity with this new funding and is committed to making Icebreaker a catalyst for building the freshwater offshore wind industry in Ohio.

LEEDCo and its development team will compete among the seven DOE award winners announced today for the additional $46.7 million the DOE is making available. Three of these seven offshore wind energy projects will receive additional funding in the following four years.

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