LEEDCo to Continue Lake Erie Wind Energy Project Despite Funding Dilemma

June 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

LEEDCo to Continue Lake Erie Wind Energy Project Despite Funding Dilemma

By John Nassivera | Jun 24, 2014 03:35 PM EDT

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) said it will continue the development of a wind farm in Lake Erie despite missing out on a grant last month.

The company was unable to finish in the top three spots of the U.S. Energy Department’s competition, for which it would have been one of three offshore wind projects to receive a $47 million check from the federal government to start building its project, according to WOSU Public Media.

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“We’re working to make the business case for the project,” said Eric Ritter, spokesman for LEEDCo.

The Department of Energy (DOE) agreed to give at least $3 million to LEEDCo to complete engineering and other studies for the project, Midwest Energy News reported. The Ohio-based company previously received $4 million from the DOE in 2012.

“The most important thing is that we’re still moving forward,” said Lorry Wagner, president of LEEDCo.

The nonprofit organization was founded by Nor Tech Energy Enterprise, the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation, and Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties five years ago.

Ritter said LEEDCo is not considering public incentives for its financial planning, so the project can still be completed even though the state has decided to freeze green energy requirements for utilities, WOSU Public Media reported.

“We’ve got full funding to complete the engineering design, we’ve submitted permit applications, we’ve got commitments to sell all of our power, we have a number of banks that are interested in financing the project,” Wagner explained. “These are all really strong fundamentals.”

The project is an Icebreaker located seven miles off the shore of Lake Erie near Cleveland, Midwest Energy News reported. If the effort runs successfully, it can lead to the development of more offshore wind energy projects in Lake Erie and the Great Lakes.

“The fundamentals of the project are as strong, if not stronger, than ever,” Wagner said. “People want locally-grown green energy. They want to clean up the environment. They want jobs.”

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