August 24, 2007

University, Cuyahoga County team up to create wind energy research center on Lake Erie

Collaborative study will be conducted first to determine feasibility of construction and operation of center that can efficiently and durably harness wind power

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Case Western Reserve University and the Board of County Commissioners of Cuyahoga County (BOCC) and have entered into an agreement that could make Ohio - and especially Northeast Ohio - a national and international focal point for energy innovation and a world leader in technologies that provide sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.

At its regular meeting on August 23, the BOCC approved a resolution for the county's Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force that authorizes Case Western Reserve University to partially sponsor a feasibility study to develop and potentially manage the operations of a Great Lakes Wind Energy Research Center, which would be the first fresh water, offshore wind project in the world. The commissioners also approved a resolution authorizing the task force to negotiate a contract with the project manger for the feasibility study for the wind turbine demonstration project and research center.

The university will collaborate with other universities, government laboratories and industry - including in the field of commercialization and industry-sponsored research - to conduct the feasibility study for a wind energy demonstration project.

The Great Lakes Wind Energy Research Center would be comprised of two components: an approximately 20-megawatt wind turbine project located in Lake Erie 3-6 miles from downtown Cleveland, and an affiliated research center to facilitate industry testing of next-generation utility-scale wind technologies for offshore and onshore application. The university also has agreed to donate $200,000 to the BOCC as one of the sponsors of the Wind Research Center and demonstration project. In addition, Norman Tien, dean of the Case School of Engineering, announced that the Wind Research Center will come under the umbrella of the university's new Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation, which has been created to advance sustainable energy generation, storage, distribution and utilization, through coordinated research, development and education.

"In addition to providing a secure and clean source of energy for our region, the Great Lakes Wind Energy Research Center would also produce many economic development and educational benefits," said Bill Mason, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and chair of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force. "And what a great asset to have Case Western Reserve University involved in this project."

Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder said she is appreciative of the board's and Mason's confidence in the university's ability to move the Wind Energy Research Center forward.

"With a proven track record in pioneering research, education and application, Case Western Reserve's research expertise at the School of Engineering is a natural fit with the region's push to become a world leader in energy use technology," Snyder said. "Through this agreement, the university will be a full partner with the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force and will build partnerships to ensure that the region's wind energy research resources are maximized."

Mason also called on the Ohio state legislature to enact a bold advanced energy portfolio standard (AEPS), with an added emphasis on making wind energy a priority. The AEPS is a policy that obligates electricity companies to generate or buy a certain percentage of its electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. This policy should cover all types of renewable and advanced energy including clean coal technology.

Prosecutor Mason said, "More than 28 states already have energy reform policies, but Ohio does not. Without an AEPS, Ohio will not attract the turbine manufactures and component part manufactures needed for advanced energy projects like the Great Lakes wind demonstration project and the thousands of high paying jobs that are needed to support this industry."

For more information: Ryan Miday, Public Information Officer, Cuyahoga County, (216) 698-2819, cell (216) 299-9326 or Laura Massie, Media Relations, Case Western Reserve University, (216) 368-4442, cell (216) 337-7753.

Posted by: Paula Baughn, August 24, 2007 12:00 PM | News Topics: Administration, Case School of Engineering, Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, Environment, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Research, Science, Technology

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