News & Views

Lake Erie Power Play

By Mark Norfolk on Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The State of Ohio is poised to be a leader in the emerging off shore wind industry.  As I have discussed previously, Lake Erie is the shallowest of the great lakes and has regions of high sustained wind.  Many people in Ohio, including government agencies and private companies, have a vision of populating Lake Erie with wind turbines and populating Ohio with component manufacturing companies for wind turbines.  This week the first step was taken toward this vision with the announcement that GE and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp, are partnering to place five wind turbines on the lake in the Cleveland Area.

Although this is an important first step, there is a long way to go in order to really bring component manufacturing for wind turbines to Ohio.  From many of the developers I have spoken with, it will take a sustained 10 year build with an average of 100-200 megawatts of installed capacity per year to justify building factories in this region.  This is not to say all of the installed capacity must be in Ohio, but the great lakes region as a whole will need to have this demand to entice OEM’s to locate facilities here.  Hopefully this first baby step gets the momentum going to bring the large scale development to the lake as well.

Posted by Mark Norfolk

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