Lake Erie wind farm timeline pushed back

8:04 PM, Jun 23, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- It will take a bit more time than originally hoped for to get five wind turbines up and running in Lake Erie.

Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation President Lorry Wagner says, "We definitely were a little over-ambitious. It's 2013. Our original goal was 2012."

There's still lots of work to do and lots of regulatory permits to obtain. Wagner says two or three are in hand with fifteen more needed.

The project need $100 million for turbines, plus more for a ship or ships to carry them.

Wagner is optimistic KeyBank can help find needed investors.

Five large turbines will be erected four miles north of the city's water intake crib, barely visible from the shore.

General Electric's been tapped to build the turbines. It's been involved with coastal windfarms, including one in Ireland.

Wagner envisions five turbines laying the groundwork for a possible entire new industry involving manufacturing and shipping and support companies.

"That's where we prove what we do know and test what we don't know. ...The best case, we establish an entire new industry by 2020," he said.

He believes 10,000 new jobs is a figure not out of the question.

Wagner and LEEDCo are busy educating the community and addressing concerns of environmentalists, boaters and tourist businesses.

He expects more concerted opposition as more details about the project unfold.

He hopes to get Govenor John Kasich to give the project an endorsement and a policy that promotes the project. LEEDCo is seeking a meeting to make its case.

Thus far, Kasich has offered lukewarm support at best for the project, which was championed by former Governor Ted Strickland.

Wagner says it is vital that this project beat other coastal wind farm projects underway in Ontario, New York and Michigan.

He hopes to beat them and then supply them with knowledge and components made in Northeast Ohio.

Wagner is a guest on WKYC's Sunday morning news segment Between the Lines on June 26.


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