December 19th, the Cleveland Foundation awarded $250,000 to the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), the non-profit spearheading the effort to build the first freshwater offshore wind project in the nation.

The announcement comes just a week after the Department of Energy (DOE) selected LEEDCo to form a one-year cooperative agreement with the US government that gives logistical support and $4,000,000 in funding for the company’s Icebreaker project.  The foundation’s reward supplements the DOE award by funding LEEDCo’s programmatic goals, including community outreach, supply chain development, research and advocacy.

From LEEDCo’s 2009 inception to the present, the Foundation has supported the company’s project with a total of $1,500,000.  The latest grant reflects the significant progress on the offshore project and is a vote of confidence in LEEDCo’s world-class leadership and partners.

Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronald B Richard said, “The Cleveland Foundation has been a steadfast believer in the vision of an offshore wind farm in Lake Erie.  We have backed that vision with comprehensive support, including complementary investments in academic research and in manufacturers entering this advanced energy sector.  We are pleased to see our region progress one step closer to a new industry.”

LEEDCo will begin a new development phase for Icebreaker, a phase that will include applying for permits and completing the front-end engineering designs.

“We are thrilled that the Cleveland Foundation has awarded LEEDCo this grant and continues to offer their invaluable support,” said LEEDCo president Dr Lorry Wagner.  “It will allow us to further develop our outreach and supply chain initiatives and develop the offshore wind industry.

“Icebreaker will be the first freshwater offshore wind farm in the US and the only one centered in an industrial and high population region.  This affords us the opportunity to develop a new industry in the heartland of research, manufacturing and innovation.”

The project is named Icebreaker because it’s breaking the ice for offshore wind energy in a freshwater source and because it’s the first freshwater wind turbines in the US designed to deal with the frozen ice that forms at the base of the turbines.

Upon its completion, the wind farm will generate 20 to 30 MW and stand 7 miles off the coast of downtown Cleveland.

The turbines will be a source of clean energy alternative to coal and natural gas, will create 500 jobs and will bring $79,900,000 in revenue to the area.

Icebreaker is LEEDCo’s catalyst for an emerging offshore wind industry that would lead to more job creation and economic development in Northeast Ohio.

My Take on the prospects of an offshore wind farm:  Thank you, Lorry Wagner and Ronald B Richard for envisioning and working to bring about a cleaner and more prosperous future for our region.

Source:   LEEDCo Newsletter, December 20, 2012   Cleveland Foundation press release, December 19, 2012


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