PHOTO ABOVE: These seven GE 3.6 MW wind turbines off the coast of Arklow, Ireland, are the world’s first commercial offshore wind turbines over 3 MW in size.
COLUMBUS — In his last official act as governor Jan. 7, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed an option-to-lease contract between the state of Ohio and the Lake Erie Energy Development Company (LEEDCo).
The legally binding contract gives LEEDCo and Freshwater Wind the exclusive right to pursue a submerged lands lease for a designated area in Ohio’s portion of Lake Erie.
If performance metrics are met within the timeline established in the contract, Ohio will be home to the first freshwater wind farm in the world.
The area covered by the agreement consists of nine grid cells totaling approximately 5,706 acres and is located approximately six miles due north of the city of Lakewood (Lakewood Park area).
The agreement allows a pilot project to explore the potential of offshore wind in Lake Erie.
LEEDCo and Freshwater Wind expect to install five wind turbines at the proposed site beginning late 2012 in an initial project expected to produce approximately 20 megawatts of electric generating capacity.
According to estimates by NorTech, the initial project is estimated to create and sustain more than 600 jobs.
By 2020, LEEDCo aims to have developed turbines producing 1,000 MW of offshore wind installed in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
“This option brings us one step closer to making offshore wind in Lake Erie a reality,” said Dr. Lorry Wagner, president of LEEDCo. “There are numerous steps and milestones in the permitting process for any power generation project, much less a first-of-a-kind project like this one, and this important step demonstrates once again that Ohio is in a leading position to build the Great Lakes offshore wind market and sector.”
During the Option-to-Lease period, LEEDCo and Freshwater will gather the data necessary to meet the requirements for obtaining a long-term submerged lands lease and for approval by the Ohio Power Siting Board.
The agreement requires LEEDCo and Freshwater to meet certain performance measures within agreed upon time limits. The agreement allows for an initial two-year lease option period and can be extended up to three years if the performance measures are met.
Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) is a regional nonprofit corporation leading efforts to deploy offshore wind projects in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
Freshwater Wind, formerly known as Great Lakes Ohio Wind, is the developer selected by LEEDCo for the Lake Erie offshore wind project, and the development company established by the following three companies, Great Lakes Wind Energy, Bechtel Development Company, and Cavallo Great Lakes Ohio Wind.
To view the interactive mapping tool showing the map layers used to develop the Wind Turbine Placement Favorability Analysis Map, visit the Office of Coastal Management website by selecting the “Coastal Wind” logo at www.ohiodnr.com/coastal. The interactive map viewer also highlights the location of the nine grid cells included in lease option for the LEEDCo/Freshwater Wind pilot project.