The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) has announced that its POWER Pledge program to build local stakeholder support for the development of an offshore wind farm on Lake Erie has now received more than 4,500 signatures from people living and working in northeast Ohio.
According to LEEDCo, the demonstration of market demand and community support is one essential way for it to secure power purchase agreements with utilities and additional federal funding. LEEDCo's 18 MW Icebreaker demonstration project consists of building six 3 MW wind turbines seven miles off the coast of downtown Cleveland in Lake Erie.
The POWER Pledge milestone was celebrated during a "POWER UP for Offshore Wind" event at the new Cleveland Convention Center on Thursday. LEEDCo says the event featured comments from LEEDCo President Lorry Wagner, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and hosted approximately 200 supporters from the local community.
"LEEDCo's Icebreaker project is one of only seven offshore wind demonstration projects in the country that has $4 million in direct financial support from the Department of Energy, and the opportunity to earn an additional $46.7 million," said Wagner. "We are very pleased to have so much support from the region's elected officials, other business and community leaders, and our general public stakeholders. Community engagement and support are critical to our success, and the support we have received for the POWER Pledge is very encouraging for the future of offshore wind in the Great Lakes."
Mayor Jackson said the City of Cleveland supports the Icebreaker project and its potential benefits.
"In August of 2011, I asked the community to rally behind LEEDCo's vision, and that's what we're seeing here today," he said.
‘Wind power is an important source of energy and jobs in Northern Ohio's future,’ commented Rep. Kaptur. ‘Lake Erie is the Saudi Arabia of wind power, and The POWER Pledge is a perfect way for the public to express its support.’
Many of the attendees signed the POWER Pledge at the event or had already signed it since LEEDCo began collecting signatures in the spring. LEEDCo says it expects Icebreaker to be operational in 2017.