The Ohio Supreme Court has greenlit plans for the construction of the 20.7-MW Icebreaker project in Lake Erie that is set to become the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America.
With a 6:1 decision, the court on Wednesday upheld the approval issued by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) in May 2020, which was later challenged by residents in the area on concerns that the positive decision has been granted without enough evidence regarding the proposal’s benefits to the public and its environmental impact. The scheme was earlier issued environmental approvals from the US Department of Energy, the US Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Put forward by Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), the Lake Erie project calls for the installation of six MHI Vestas 3.45-MW turbines in Lake Erie, some 8 miles off the coast of downtown Cleveland. According to the court’s ruling, the OPSB has adequately stated that the development would have “a minimal impact” on the public’s ability to enjoy Lake Erie.
In its permit, OPSB provided a long list of conditions, among which is a requirement for the wind farm to cease operations during nighttime hours between March 1 and November 1 every year in order to protect birds and bats. The specific condition was appealed by LEEDCo, which stated at the time that the rule would make the project financially unviable.
Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.