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Siting

Where will 'Icebreaker' be located?

project-icebreaker-site-plan

 

How are projects initially sited?

The first step is to look at the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Turbine Placement Favorability Map to begin delineating areas attractive for offshore wind development. The map indicates areas in Lake Erie that the regulators at ODNR deem more or less suitable for installing wind turbines.  Additional information can be found at: http://www.ohiodnr.com/LakeErie/WindEnergyRules/tabid/21234/Default.aspx#Summary

Once a potential site has been selected, and has gotten some degree of favorable feedback from ODNR, more detailed efforts (such as geo-technical engineering) can begin to ensure that the placement of turbines will be acceptable.
 

Have shipwrecks been taken into account when siting the initial project?

Yes. Ohio’s Turbine Favorability Placement Map uses shipwrecks as a weighting factor for considering siting limitations. Beyond this initial indicator, lake bed surveys are completed in advance before construction commences. Such considerations will continue for subsequent projects.
 

How many turbines will be installed in Lake Erie?

Icebreaker will have six 3.0 MW wind turbines.

A National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study indcates that the theoretical maximum energy potential in the U.S. waters of Lake Erie is 46,000 MW. Future development will likely happen further away from shore in areas deemed ideal by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It is highly improbable even 20% of the Lake will be utilized for wind energy. Furthermore, as turbine sizes increase, fewer turbines need to be installed to achieved desired generation capacity.

 

What is the depth of the initial site?

The initial project is located where water depth is approximately 60 feet, which happens to be roughly the average depth of Lake Erie.
 

What are the various permits that must be acquired in the siting process?

LEEDCo is currently working with a number of federal and state agencies to create a regulatory pathway for the first offshore wind project in Lake Erie. The primary agencies are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Power Siting Board.

 

What parts of Lake Erie will be considered for deployment?

LEEDCo can only speak to its member counties: Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Lorain, and Lake. LEEDCo has not yet begun identifying sites for subsequent projects.  However, it anticipates focusing its efforts on sites that are deemed most favorable by ODNR.

The Western Basin of Lake Erie has more limitations against wind farm development (e.g., avian issues, fish habitat, sport fishery efforts) and is not an area of consideration at present by LEEDCo (or, to LEEDCo’s knowledge, other parties).
 

What is the minimum distance from shore turbines will be placed?

Beyond aesthetics, locating turbines further offshore make sense due to increased wind speed and hence greater productivity/yield from the turbines. LEEDCo’s first project is about 7 miles offshore and anticipates other projects to be further offshore, not close.
 

What is the regulatory process for siting offshore wind?

LEEDCo is working with numerous federal and state agencies to create a regulatory framework for offshore wind projects in Lake Erie. LEEDCo's regulatory partners McMahon DeGulis, Environ, and Pacific Northwest National Labs are leading the effort to assess all risks to lake ecosystems, commercial shipping operations, recreational boating, air traffic, and other issues. The primary agencies responsible for issuing the lease and all necessary permits include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Envrionmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Power Siting Board. The LEEDCo team plans to have all permit applications filed by the end of 2013.

     

    Does the Ohio Historical Society hold Lake Erie in the public trusts and evaluate who has the right to use the lake for commercial development?

    The role of OHS is to make sure the cultural heritage of any Great Lake state is protected according to the terms of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). LEEDCo and its partners are abiding by all provisions of NEPA, by fulfilling an Environmental Assessment including review by all relevant stakeholders, including OHS.