Lake Erie wind farm proposal wins $4millionin federal funding [View all]
The U.S. Department of Energy announced Wednesday that Northeast Ohio's Project Icebreaker is one of seven proposals nationwide to advance in the high-stakes competition to prove the promise of offshore wind power.
LEEDco, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. formed in 2004, created the Northeast Ohio public-private-academic partnership behind Project Icebreaker. The organization's proposal called for the installation of nine 3-megawatt turbines seven miles off the shore. The challenge now is to determine the details of drilling into the lake's floor, transporting the structures out into the water, and finally getting them to stand – and stay – upright.
Ultimately, the goal is to demonstrate how to build a wind farm that provides power at the same cost as traditional electric plants when the cost of construction, maintenance and energy production are averaged over the 20-year life of the wind turbines.
"There are 8,000 parts in a wind turbine and every little thing we can do to reduce the cost or increase the energy produced is in play," said David Matthiesen, a professor of materials science and engineering at Case Western Reserve and the research team leader for Project Icebreaker's research and development group.