Federal agencies find US Great Lakes offshore wind project will not significantly impact environment
20.7-MW pilot project scheduled for 2020 completion
63.6% of the project’s power has been sold
New York — A bid to stimulate a freshwater offshore wind industry in the US Great Lakes moved forward this week as the 20.7-MW Icebreaker Wind pilot project being developed in Lake Erie received a favorable environmental review from federal agencies.
The Icebreaker project — being developed by the nonprofit Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation and Oslo, Norway-based Fred. Olsen Renewables — said in a statement Wednesday that the US Department of Energy, in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard and “other federal entities,” completed Icebreaker’s final environmental assessment.
The agencies released the final EA and Finding of No Significant Impact on October 2, according to the statement. The six-turbine project, to be located 8 miles north of Cleveland, would be the first freshwater wind energy installation in North America, the developers said.
Construction is planned for summer 2020, with operations commencing in November 2020.
“This is the most significant single approval Icebreaker Wind has received to date,” Lorry Wagner, president of Lake Erie Energy Development, said. “We are eager now to earn state approval and move forward.”
The project “stands to establish our region as a leader in the exploding offshore wind energy sector, and will yield both environmental and economic benefits for Greater Cleveland,” Wagner said.
Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm offshore Rhode Island is the only commercial offshore wind project currently operating in the US. Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners are developing the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project offshore Massachusetts, which is slated to start construction in 2019 with commercial operations scheduled for 2021.