The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), developer of the Icebreaker Wind project offshore Cleveland, has teamed up with the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) at the University of Michigan.
The partners plan to work together on projects of mutual interest. This includes the sharing of scientific data, access to offshore platforms, and research to monitor and understand large-scale processes on Lake Erie. CIGLR comprises 21 research organizations and the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
LEEDCo’s president, Lorry Wagner, says the organization is committed to the health of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes as the nonprofit works to design and build the six-turbine Icebreaker Wind project.
“Our mission here goes beyond simply generating clean energy,’’ Wagner says. “All of our Great Lakes are vital, immense resources for both people and wildlife. From day one, our mission has been to protect them and advance science to keep this region healthy for generations to come. This data-sharing collaborative will give us the opportunity to work side-by-side with the research community to design the most advanced lake monitoring system in the Great Lakes.”
The collaboration will allow CIGLR members to propose projects to conduct scientific analysis and research on Lake Erie in and around the project site. Traditionally, researchers have had to remove sensors and buoys from the lake in the winter and re-deploy them in the spring due to ice. However, using LEEDCo’s investment in offshore infrastructure, scientists can deploy sensors and collect data year-round in the offshore waters of Lake Erie. LEEDCo says this is an ideal complement to Icebreaker’s commitment, for at least five years, of post-construction monitoring of aquatic life and water quality.
LimnoTech, an environmental engineering and science firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been working with LEEDCo to monitor Lake Erie and involve the research community as often as possible.
“We have a passion for protecting and monitoring our water environment,” says LimnoTech project engineer Ed Verhamme. “Our work with LEEDCo fits right in with our mission to create beneficial public/private partnerships that will benefit all of the Great Lakes.”
Icebreaker Wind is being planned eight miles off the Cleveland shore by LEEDCo, a public-private partnership that includes support from the City of Cleveland; the Cleveland Foundation; Cuyahoga, Lake, Ashtabula and Lorain counties; and Erie County, Pa.
The Icebreaker Wind project has been reviewed and approved by 14 local, state and federal agencies and is awaiting final approval by the Ohio Power Siting Board.