The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has recommended a conditional approval for the 20.7-MW demonstration-scale Icebreaker offshore wind project in Lake Erie, it was announced on Tuesday.
The project, being the first freshwater offshore wind project in North America, is proposed by Lake Erie Energy Development Co, which subsequently tied up with Fred Olsen Renewables. It calls for the installation of six 3.45-MW turbines in Lake Erie, some 8 miles to 10 miles off the shore of Cleveland, and the construction of a 12-mile submerged transmission line that will connect the wind farm to an onshore substation of Cleveland Public Power.
A major condition for the project to move forward is the presentation of a monitoring plan that will aim to assess the impact of the wind farm’s construction and operation on the migration of bats and birds. Overall, a staff report investigation by OPSB indicates that the project will have a “minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the state of available technology”, but the developer will have to install collision detectors on the wind turbines, conduct additional radar studies and install sophisticated radar systems. LEEDCo must also prove that the turbines will not endanger migratory bats and birds or will otherwise have to cease overnight operations at the plant between March and January.
Following OPSB's recommendation, construction of the project, which has been delayed for several years now due to environmental concerns, is now planned to commence in the summer of 2020 and end a year later. Commissioning is scheduled for December 2021.
A local public hearing for the project is to be held on July 19.
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.