Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), a nonprofit group leading an effort to deploy wind turbines in Lake Erie, has chosen Great Lakes Ohio Wind (GLOW) to design, finance and erect a 20 MW demonstration project consisting of five wind turbines in the lake, located north of downtown Cleveland.
GLOW consists of San Francisco-based project management firm Bechtel Development Co.; Cavallo Great Lakes Ohio Wind, a subsidiary of Houston-based energy development and asset management company Cavallo Energy; and Great Lakes Wind Energy LLC (GLWEnergy), a partnership of individual project developers formed to participate in the effort.
GE will supply the project's direct-drive wind turbines and perform maintenance services. Chris Wissemann, managing director at GLWEnergy, will serve as project manager for the joint venture.
Bechtel and Cavallo will finance the project through its early stages, and the two firms also will help pay for the construction and operation of the wind farm, though the developers will have to seek outside financing.
According to Dr. Lorry Wagner, president at LEEDCo, such forms of financing will need to come from a power purchase agreement, tax credits, debt financing and equity put in by the developers.
Construction on the project is slated to begin in late 2012. However, the company must first receive the results of a study analyzing and mapping the terrain at the bottom of Lake Erie. The study is expected to be completed in October and finalized by December, according to Wagner.
The samples from the lake floor will dictate the direction taken in many facets of the project's construction, such as permitting, and the type of foundation structure and installation vessels that will be used.
LEEDCo anticipates that 1,000 MW of wind energy being generated from lake winds by 2020 and says that economies of scale that can be obtained when building these large projects will reduce the cost of that energy to attractive levels.
Developers will work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers to obtain a lease agreement for the project. Because the 20 miles of Lake Erie sea floor to the Canadian border falls under state jurisdiction, developers will also work with the state of Ohio on the lease.