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Cuyahoga County Plans for Renewable Energy

By Elizabeth Miller 

On Tuesday, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish will propose a plan for the county to purchase 2 different forms of renewable energy: wind and solar. 

In 2018, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEED-CO, will have completed Ohio’s first offshore wind farm, 6 turbines off the coast of Cleveland.  2 companies have already signed off to buy the energy generated by the turbines: Cleveland Public Power and Amp-Ohio.  As a customer of Cleveland Public Power, Cuyahoga County wants to buy about 9 percent of the power coming from the wind farm, says Mike Foley, the County’s Director of Sustainability. 

"Working with Cleveland Public Power is our way to help finance the project basically by agreeing to take a portion of the power, 8.6 percent of the power, being generated from the wind and funneling through the grid and into our buildings," said Foley.

The county is also looking for patches of land in the city of Cleveland to be the future home of solar farms, which Foley says will produce 4 megawatts of solar power.

"In Cuyahoga County, we’ve got a lot of land that, right now, cannot be developed," said Foley.  "We’ve got landfills that you can’t do anything else with but potentially put solar panels on."  Foley says the county is in the process of narrowing down the list of proposed sites from 5 to 2.  Foley says that the proposal will save the county money, too – 2.5 million dollars over a 25 year period. 

Update 11/15/16:

Cuyahoga County Council voted Tuesday to buy wind energy from the not-yet constructed Project Icebreaker.  The project, run by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, consists of 6 wind turbines off the coast of Cleveland…it’s set to be completed by the end of 2018.  Council has had 3 meetings on the subject.  The county will buy about 9 percent of the power coming from the wind farm as a customer of Cleveland Public Power. 

The vote also includes plans to draw energy from solar farms around the county, which will be built on one or two patches of vacant land.  The county is still deciding between 4 properties – 3 in Cleveland and one in Brooklyn, according to the county sustainability office.