Wind Turbines in Lake Erie

June 2020 News

Lake Erie Foundation (LEF) applauds the recent unanimous action of the Ohio Power Siting Board to include 33 critical conditions in a permit to build wind turbines in Lake Erie off the shores of Cleveland. The Board’s action acknowledges the many concerns about the industrialization of Ohio’s most precious natural resource.

To be clear, LEF supports the pursuit of clean and renewable energy. However, LEF must stand opposed to the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation’s (LEEDCo) planned turbine project, called “Icebreaker.” LEF believes it is vitally important for Ohioans to know the long term impact of LEEDCo’s proposal.

For example, LEEDCo claims its focus is on “only six turbines.”  Ultimately, LEEDCo   President David Karpinsky confirmed: “Our vision is 5,000 megawatts over the next 10 to 15 years.” Doing the math for what each turbine can generate, would equate installing approximately 1,600 wind turbines directly in Lake Erie.

LEEDCo indicates the project will generate over 500 jobs. In reality, the developer’s own study calls for just 159 temporary construction jobs and only 9 permanent jobs. Moreover, the municipal utility in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County has agreed to buy two-thirds of Icebreaker’s output. The massive capital and operating costs in the water versus land based will likely be 5 times higher than power currently purchased from the grid and will eventually negatively impact greater Cleveland rate payers.

Lake Erie Foundation supports further in-depth studies such as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) versus the less reliable Environmental Assessment that has been completed.

Thankfully, Lake Erie is on a path to recovery from ecological decline after decades of thoughtful investments and protective regulations. It is amazing to witness a new generation of Ohioans returning to the lake after 50 years of decline. But…it is still a fragile body of water!

The State of Ohio has an obligation to protect our greatest natural resource for all citizens who seek its use and enjoyment. We believe that Ohio should regard protecting Lake Erie as a priority, so critical, that the future of our entire region depends on it.

Jim Stouffer
Lake Erie Foundation

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