hInstallation of offshore wind turbine in Denmark

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo, a non-profit corporation) announced yesterday that the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $4,000,000 in new funding for the Cleveland “Icebreaker ” project.

The freshwater project, consisting of five to nine wind turbines seven miles offshore of Cleveland, is named “Icebreaker” for two reasons:  First, because the wind turbines will be the first to be placed in freshwater in the US; and second, because being in freshwater adds an extra complication in design and construction to deal with ice forming around the turbines’ bases during the winter months.

In a one-year cooperative agreement, the DOE committed $4,000,000 to support the advancement of the offshore wind energy project.  As part of the agreement, LEEDCo’s private partners committed an additional $1,000,000 in cost share.

Among LEEDCo’s winning development team for “Icebreaker” are Case Western Reserve University, McMahon DeGulis, Freshwater Wind, Siemens, and DNV KEMA.

The team’s strength comes from the combination of international partners who have first-hand offshore wind experience with local partners who add value with their knowledge of the Lake Erie environment as well as the regional labor force.

“Icebreaker” is one of only seven US offshore wind energy projects receiving DOE funding and the only in the Great lakes.  The funded demonstration projects will 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 funding for ‘Icebreaker’ is a testament and vote of confidence for LEEDCo’s world-class team members and partners,” said the company’s president, Dr. Lorry Wagner.

“After a highly competitive evaluation process, I am excited and proud to say that ‘Icebreaker’ was selected for its innovation and expertise in wind energy development, paving the way for future financial support from the Department of Energy and private investors.”

Speaking of the DOE’s award to LEEDCo, US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said, “The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources, and it is important for us to develop technologies that will allow us to utilize those resources in ways that are economically viable.  Today’s announcement of awards to the first offshore wind projects in the US paves the way to a cleaner, more sustainable and more diverse domestic energy portfolio that develops every source of American energy.”

“With this funding, ‘Icebreaker’ will be a launch pad for offshore wind development in our region,” said  Wagner.  “This significantly increases Ohio’s prospects for leveraging first mover advantage in the offshore wind industry, and that will translate into job creation and economic development for our state.”

The DOE will make available up to an additional $180,000,000 over the next five years to accelerate the deployment of breakthrough wind power technologies.  LEEDCo’s “Icebreaker” project could potentially receive an additional $46,700,000 in federal funding.

Source:   LEEDCo Cleveland press release, December 12, 2012

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