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Disappointment for Lake Erie Wind Farm Hopefuls

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 4:28 PM

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Late yesterday came news that Ohio lost out to other states in a competition for federal dollars for a wind farm planted in water. Today the nonprofit group that’s spearheaded the project was keeping its thoughts to itself. ideastream reporter Joanna Richards has the story.

Three developers won $47 million each in Department of Energy funding to start building windmills offshore. Cleveland’s Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, known as LEEDCo, wasn’t one of them.

The group declined an interview today and had no comments on what it plans to do next.

The winning entries are in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon. The Energy Department didn’t say what they had that LEEDCo didn’t. But Senator Sherrod Brown, who has advocated for the Lake Erie proposal, says building in freshwater poses a special challenge: ice. LEEDCo’s was the only freshwater proposal.

“I think it was just a caution from the Department of Energy that they’re not quite yet 100 percent sure that they want to invest big, big dollars in freshwater,” he said. “They’re not really telling us why, but I assume that’s a big part of the reason.”

An Energy Department official says it wants to see LEEDCo complete its engineering plan, since it will help develop strategies to deal with ice. The feds are granting $3 million for that.

Brown says he’ll help LEEDCo pursue other funding.

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