May 01, 2009

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force Releases Final Feasibility Study on Offshore Wind Pilot Project


Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, chair of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, along with Ronn Richard, president and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation, Norman Tien, dean of the Case School of Engineering, and Ralf Krueger, CEO of juwi Wind US Corporation (operating locally also as JW Great Lakes Wind LLC), announced the release of a year-long Feasibility Study on an offshore wind turbine Pilot Project in Lake Erie. Tim Timken, Chairman of the Timken Company, gave remarks on Timken's experience in the wind energy industry.

In early 2008, juwi was hired by Cuyahoga County to perform a Feasibility Study for the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center, envisioned to be comprised of a 5-20 MW pilot offshore wind energy project ("Pilot Project") in Lake Erie near downtown Cleveland and associated test, certification, and advanced research centers.

The final report presents a summary of results from the Feasibility Study across a variety of technical and economic disciplines following a one year study period. The report indicates that a Pilot Project is technically and environmentally feasible, pending further studies of selected issues, approvals by regulatory agencies, and solutions to make the project more economically viable.

The Pilot Project area is generally three to five miles from shore, near downtown Cleveland. The study identifies nine potential turbine configurations at different locations in this approximate area, and recommends an area east of the Cleveland water intake Crib.

The study estimates capital costs of a potential Pilot Project between $77-92 million (depending on turbine size), representing design and construction, associated infrastructure and onshore facilities, as well as other costs. The study recommends investigating alternative funding sources, including grants from the Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Stimulus money, and other resources through local, regional, and national organizations.

The investments associated with a potential Pilot Project will help accelerate an offshore wind industry in the Great Lakes, provide solutions to technical challenges, and further identify the viability of large-scale wind energy development. With a strong manufacturing base, and many companies already supplying components to the wind industry, Northeast Ohio is primed to become the leader in research, manufacturing, and job growth related to wind energy development.

"The strategic purpose of this evaluation was to determine a path to reinvigorate our depressed regional economy by building a new industry that can offer the next generation of jobs," said Prosecutor Bill Mason, Chair of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force. "I believe Ohio can become a major hub for this emerging wind industry, just as Houston became the center for the offshore oil industry as a result of its pioneering work in the Gulf of Mexico."

Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, says the Feasibility Study confirms his belief in the potential for offshore wind in Cleveland. "The report builds a compelling case for making the investments necessary to capture the economic opportunity afforded by offshore wind. I am confident the future market for wind turbines in the Great Lakes offers great promise for many companies in our region."

"Just 15 years ago, Navarra, Spain, a region of one-half million people, made a commitment to be a player in the renewable energy industry," adds Norman Tien, Dean and Nord Professor of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University. "Today, it's home to 40 wind farms and almost 1200 wind turbines, as well as over 5000 jobs in wind energy and 88 companies in the renewable energy sector. Cleveland could have similar potential."

Ralf Krueger, CEO of juwi Wind US Corporation, said, "the end of the Feasibility Study is the start of a bright future for wind energy in Northeast Ohio that will, however, still require more resources to attract the new jobs that we all want to see created. juwi is proud to have been part of such an exciting project, and will remain a committed partner to help advance the wind energy industry in Ohio."

Also in attendance were Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones and Cuyahoga County Port-Authority's Adam Wasserman.

The Feasibility Study was funded by Cuyahoga County, The Cleveland Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, City of Cleveland, The Fund for Our Economic Future via Nortech, Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority, and the Generation Foundation.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, May 1, 2009 08:33 AM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Energy, Environment, Research, news

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