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Lake Erie Wind Turbines? Complaints Pour In (Part I: Overview)

Monday, October 17, 2016 23:13
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“There is absolutely NOTHING ecologically friendly about an industrial wind turbine. It is designed for one thing: profits.”

‘Icebreaker Windpower,’ the first proposed freshwater wind turbine project, is running into serious opposition from ratepayer, taxpayers, and environmental groups. As an offshore project (six turbines about seven miles off the shore of Cleveland Ohio), it should be compared to the about-to-begin $0.24/kWh cost debacle of Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind project.

No mater how much the American Wind Energy Association hypes, offshore wind adds a layer of cost to the already uneconomic onshore projects.


Al Isselhard of Great Lakes Wind Truth, who has worked for years to protect the Lakes from industrialization, offers a current on the Icebreaker proposal. “We have to assume that LEEDCo, now the Icebreaker Windpower project with Fred Olsen Renewables of Norway,” he stated, “was completely unprepared to undertake the project of six turbines.

Ironically, even if they had done the proper homework, it still would not be and IS not, a viable project. Where is the update on this homework? Where are the deficiencies and omissions remediated? This project is the same project, and public attention needs to highlight the unbearable cost of a so called demonstration project. If I build an 8 x 10 shed, I need a permit. Where is the permit for the digging that is now taking place in Lake Erie?

Mysteriously, without permits in place, the US’s first freshwater wind turbine proposal has received another dollop of federal money: $40 million.

Groups fighting any industrialization of the Lakes such as Great Lakes Wind Truth and North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW ), are submitting letters to the DOE Colorado Office as quickly as possible. Some are requesting that federal funding for this expensive boondoggle, estimated to eventually run up to $125 million, or about $25 million for each turbine, be immediately truncated, and that a complete audit of existing monies granted be undertaken with fulsome reporting to taxpayers.

The proposed industrialization is being hyped as the beginning of a proliferation in the Lake of up to 1,700 turbines. US Representative Marci Kaptur refers in various media pieces to a “wind corridor” running “from Buffalo to Erie to Toledo and extending points west and east.” (One almost wishes this grotesque whole were on paper in order to cause an environmentalist revolt from lake to shining lake.)

Siting Deficiencies

Formerly known as LEEDCo project, Icebreaker comes under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). Two years ago, hearings before the OPSB identified some 14 omissions, errors, and deficiencies. We opponents of the project cannot locate any remission or correction of those deficiencies.

Some of the deficiencies for the LEEDCo project noted by the OPSB are:

  • Ecological impacts studies for during construction and during operation
  • Ice throw. Describe the potential impact from ice throw at the nearest properly boundary, including commercial and recreational uses of Lake Erie (i.e., fishing, shipping, military exercises, boating, swimming/diving, etc.), and the Applicant’s plans to minimize potential impacts, if warranted
  • Noise. Indicate the location of any noise-sensitive areas within one-mile of the proposed facility. Conduct studies and provide results that indicate negligible noise impacts to aquatic species
  • An up to 10-year survey of projected population within 5 miles of the project site (which includes transmission lines and substations) “The applicant shall provide existing and ten-year projected population estimates for communities within five miles of the proposed project area site(s).”
  • Studies of the technical data needed for lakebed topography and geography
  • Traffic impact studies during construction and maintenance

Offshore wind has environmental issues that reflect its energy sprawl. There is also the issue of end-of-life decommissioning, as Kent Hawkins has discussed. Part II tomorrow will discuss a number of hazards from offshore turbines as proposed in this project. 


Note: Comments are being solicited by the US Department of Energy regarding the newly minted Fred Olsen Renewables Icebreaker/Windpower Project, formerly the LEEDCo project known as Icebreaker. Comments are due on or before October 21 and should be labelled File EA 2045, Attention Roak Parker

The post Lake Erie Wind Turbines? Complaints Pour In (Part I: Overview) appeared first on Master Resource.


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