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After Losing Federal Funding Contest, Wind Farm Advocates Crafting Plan B

Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 5:32 AM

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LEEDCo's Eric Ritter speaks about the status of the group's wind farm proposal at an event in Edgewater Park.

Despite losing out on major federal funding last month, a nonprofit group trying to build a wind farm in Lake Erie says it’s now shaping up a Plan B to realize its goal. ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, LEEDCo for short, says it’s reworking aspects of its wind farm proposal after failing to finish in the top three slots of the U.S. Energy Department’s competition. 

If it had, it would have been among three offshore wind projects to get a $47 million check from the federal government to start building. Now, it’s rethinking its strategy.

“We’re working to make the business case for the project,” said Eric Ritter, LEEDCo spokesman, during an event with green and labor groups in Edgewater Park.

Ritter said in its financial planning, LEEDCo factored in no public incentives. So even with the state deciding this week to freeze green energy requirements for utilities, he says the project is still viable.

“We’ve got full funding to complete the engineering design, we’ve submitted permit applications, we’ve got commitments to sell all of our power, we have a number of banks that are interested in financing the project. These are all really strong fundamentals,” Ritter said.

The nonprofit has been too focused on winning federal funding for the last two years to fully explore private financing at the same time, he said. And it shaped its previous proposal around federal requirements. Now, LEEDCo is looking at how it can cut costs and make the wind farm more attractive to private investors. 

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