November 3 (Renewables Now) - Bird conservation groups do not agree with a claim in the draft environmental assessment (EA) for the Icebreaker wind project in Lake Erie that the planned facility would have little to no impact on birds and bats.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Ohio's Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) said this week that Lake Erie is important to migratory birds such as the endangered Kirtland's Warbler.
"Based on our exhaustive review of the EA, we see no evidence to support the claim that the project poses little to no risk to birds and bats," said BSBO's executive director Kimberly Kaufman. According to Kaufman the six-turbine Icebreaker project would in fact pose a significant threat to wildlife and much bigger impacts would be triggered by the planned expansion of the project to over 1,000 turbines.
BSBO and ABC hope their concerns will be taken into account in any future assessments of the environmental impact of the Icebreaker project. A final EA could be issued in the next few months after a public comment period ended earlier in October, the groups said.
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) said in Auguist it will hold a local public hearing on the project on November 8.
The 20.7-MW project is proposed by Icebreaker Windpower Inc, a company set up by Fred. Olsen Renewables. The original developer of the scheme is Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), which subsequently tied up with Fred. Olsen Renewables. The aim of the project is to help stimulate an offshore wind industry in the Great Lakes.