How much will the project cost?
|Including the vessel to install the project, the project will cost on the order of $120-$150 million.
Where is the money coming from?
|Private sector equity and debt, financed by the revenues from electricity sales, plus tax-credits.
Is there an opportunity for individuals to make an investment in LEEDCo?
|LEEDCo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, private corporation. We accept tax-deductible donations. However, this would be an outright grant, not an investment, as it offers no prospect of return.|
LEEDCo is working with the private sector development firm Freshwater Wind, who will arrange the financing for the project, including equity and debt. LEEDCo and Freshwater Wind will be exploring the potential for individuals to make an investment in the project as it gets closer to completion.
Will ratepayers expect an increase on their utility bill?
|LEEDCo and its development partner Freshwater Wind are currently pursuing power purchase agreements for the output of the project. It is premature to speculate how such agreements will affect whose bills by how much. However, LEEDCo is committed to ensure that the project will not generate a significant impact on anyone’s utility bill.
Doesn’t wind energy require government subsidy? Why is it still so expensive?
All energy sources receive subsidy, though not all subsidies are created equal. For reference, there are two comprehensive reports on the historical disparity of energy subsidies. One report is published by Management Information Services Inc , the other by DBL Investors .
Admittedly, offshore wind energy is more expensive than other conventional sources of electricity. However, offshore wind is a new industry with a great deal of room for innovative engineering and cost-cutting solutions. Looking at the price trajectory of onshore wind, it is clear time has lent itself toward competiveness. It is reasonable to assume like other technology cost-curves, offshore wind will follow suit.
LEEDCo and its partners realize that the price of power from this initial project will be above market levels. LEEDCo and its partners are committed to driving down the cost of offshore wind in Lake Erie towards competitive levels in subsequent projects, with the goal of parity for projects installed in the early half of 2020's.
Where will the turbines come from?
As of May 2012, LEEDCo is targeting Siemens' wind turbine technology. Beyond the reliability of their turbines and its suitability for Lake Erie's wind regime, the turbine is more attractive based on being manufactured entirely in the United States. LEEDCo will continue working as a liaison between Ohio companies and Siemens in an attempt to achieve higher levels of Ohio content in their turbines.
Beyond the turbines themselves, most of the jobs and economic development associated with offshore wind will come from activities not associated with turbine manufacturing. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts of offshore wind. To date, Europe has created over 40,000 jobs in the offshore wind industry and most of those are not in manufacturing, but in maritime activities, biology, engineering, logistics, operations, environmental health and safety, tourism, construction, weather forecasting, surveying, finance, maintenance and development. Most of these jobs by their very nature will be locally-sourced – from the first project onward.
How many jobs will be created from the pilot project alone?
|It is projected that the initial 20 MW project will generate about 600 construction jobs, with about sixty permanent jobs for maintenance, planning, administrative, etc...
Can I buy power from the project if I want to?
|Currently, there is no finance structure in place to offer households the opportunity to opt-in to buy some power from the project. However, LEEDCo is exploring possibilities on this front, so stay tuned.
Will tourism within proximity to any of the projects be negatively impacted?
|No. It is unlikely that wind projects will be developed near resort areas, such as the Lake Erie Islands, to avoid potential aesthetic impact and public discern.|
In fact, Ohio’s leading role in developing offshore wind projects could actually become a tourist attraction, as has been the case in Europe, where there are boating tours to enable visitors to get up-close to installed and operating offshore wind projects