Sen. Brown, Gov. Strickland Outline Plans To Advance Offshore Wind Turbine Projects

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced legislation that would advance the installation of offshore wind turbines in freshwater bodies such as Lake Erie.

Brown's new legislation, the Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development (POWERED) Act of 2010, would spur research on potential offshore wind projects, expand incentives for offshore wind development and require the Department of Energy to develop a comprehensive road map for the deployment of offshore wind.

Brown's POWERED Act has been endorsed by the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio, Case Western Reserve University, The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, the Ohio State University, The Great Lakes Wind Network and by wind developers such as NRG Bluewater Wind.

Brown's POWERED Act would expand incentives for offshore wind development by increasing the allowance of renewable energy tax credits for offshore wind under a national renewable electricity standard. This provision is aimed at addressing the higher up-front capital costs of developing offshore wind resources, as well as the strength of wind resources found offshore.

In addition, Gov. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, has called on the Ohio Legislature to eliminate the tangible personal property tax on wind- and solar-generation equipment. The state has also mapped Lake Erie into square-mile grids and color-coded them to identify the best places for turbines. The map is being regularly updated and is now adding information about the make-up of the lakebed.

The state is also reviewing existing Ohio laws and regulations to give wind developers the site control they need while still protecting Lake Erie. The state of Ohio continues to work with developers and manufacturers to create responsible state incentive packages to make sure this industry grows in Ohio. An offshore wind team made up of state agencies meets every week to discuss wind development in Ohio.

In addition to federal and state efforts, some members of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force recently formed a nonprofit economic development corporation called the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo).

LEEDCo's mission is to progress toward putting wind turbines in Lake Erie off the coast of northeast Ohio, with the goal of creating a regional offshore wind industry and stimulating increased economic activity in Ohio.

As a project of NorTech Energy Enterprise, Richard Stuebi is leading the effort to formally launch LEEDCo, including the development of a business plan and governing structure. LEEDCo has announced a request for proposals for a wind farm developer to provide assistance on an initial 20 MW offshore wind project planned for Cleveland.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Ted Strickland Â

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