The scale and magnitude of offshore wind energy requires a significant amount of maritime capabilities, capacity, and onshore land availability. As the industry launch pad and staging area for all installation and assembly activity, port revitalization is an essential backbone to a thriving offshore industry. This includes a number of vessels and shipbuilding activity required to service the industry. To this end, Ohio's ports could sustain its own industry in addition to projects in other states and Canada. Here's a look at the landscape of Ohio's existing ports.
Video: Handling of Lincoln Electric's turbine at Port of Cleveland.
In 1999, Germany’s ports became involved in offshore wind for the same reasons Ohio is seeking out today. Offshore wind is a plays a role in reversing the rapid decline of its ports' productivity. Similarly, with decline of the manufacturing and steel presence in Northeast Ohio, the region can benefit from an industry with a variety of maritime activities, raw material needs, and port facilities; all to the benefit of the local economy. According to TeamNEO, Ohio has six deepwater ports. Offshore wind is one of the few industries of current relevance which offers the scale of development to bring about significant revitalization while employing thousands.
Multiple German ports are involved at various levels (see report, page 2). A similar model for Ohio is realistic as no single port can support an entire industry simply based on space constraints. This, in effect, guarantees (what is already a multi-county regional economic development project) a more efficient build out, across Ohio's North shore. Commercial scale farms will require a network of supporting facilities. While location drives logistics, outfitting one port for a particular use may not be economically feasible for the same purpose at an adjacent county. Therefore it is likely one port may specialize in foundation construction and another in turbine assembly.
Beyond Ohio, the entire Great Lakes is outfitted with suitable ports for offshore wind. Check out an inventory of all the ports in a report called The Role of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Ports in the Advancement of the Wind Energy Industry by the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative. A similar infrastructural inventory was completed in Massachusetts.