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Signing 'Power Pledge' Could Help Bring Wind Turbines to Lake Erie

Cleveland-area project could win $48 million for off-shore wind turbines.

Power Pledge Facebook
Power Pledge Facebook

Are you willing to pay a little more to ensure the energy you’re using is green?

Avon Lake Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch is spearheading an effort as one of the Lorain County representatives to the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force to get as many people as possible in the area to sign a non-binding “power pledge” to help LEEDCo earn money to build six wind turbines approximately 7 miles off the city’s shoreline.

Residents can sign the Power Pledge, which could help land the Cleveland area $48 million for off-shore turbines, at 7p.m. June 24 the Avon Lake Public Library’s Gallery Room.

The Ice Breaker wind turbine project by LEEDCo located in Lake Erie off the shoreline of downtown Cleveland is one of the top six wind turbine projects in the USA.

LEEDCo (Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation) is a regional non-profit and economic development organization building an offshore wind energy industry in Ohio.

For being one of the top six projects, LEEDCo was awarded $4 million in 2012, Fenderbosch said. The project has until Dec. 31, 2013 to accomplish a list of goals set by the Federal Government to qualify as one of the top three wind turbine projects in the USA. If it meets the challenge, then the Ice Breaker project will receive $48 million to build the project. It would start generating electricity by 2017.

Fenderbosch is hoping residents of Avon Lake, a NOPEC community, will take part in the grass roots effort by signing the Power Pledge at 7 p.m. on June 24 at the Avon Lake Public Library’s month on your electric bill.

“By signing the Power Pledge, you will signify that you are one of the first to use wind to power your home,” Fenderbosch said. 

This is the first Power Pledge Signing Event in Lorain County. LEEDCo covers a five-county area.

“The turbines off the coast of Cleveland would barely be visible on a clear day,” she said of the massive structures. “The first one will be 7 miles out. The second would be out further. This project has been going on a long time.”

 The turbines, if constructed, would begin two miles beyond the Cleveland water crib.

 “The placement would not upset fisherman, migrating birds or shipping lanes,” she said. “In fact it will probably attract fish (by creating an artificial reef).”

“We need to demonstrate (residents) are interested in purchasing Lake Erie wind,” Fenderbosch said. “They will pay a little more for that. If they do, they decide how much. They could add an extra dollar, $5, $10 to their electric bill. The Power Pledge is not a contract, though, it is simply a demonstration of interest.”

Fenderbosch said if the project goes through, those in Avon Lake and Northeast Ohio can be the first people in North America to buy Lake Erie generated wind.

Wind power would be added as an additional power generation source to the current electrical grid.

The pledge shows area residents are interested in wind power and green power. The pledges will be kept by LEEDco and turned in with the packet in hopes to secure the $48 million. 

Support from council           

Fenderbosch is hoping Avon Lake City Council members will pass a resolution before June 24 saying they are in favor of offering residents option of wind power to individual homeowners.

Many Avon Lake residents are members of NOPEC, the energy consortium. NOPEC now in discussion with LEEDco but would like to see how many area residents are in support of wind power.

“They’ll use (the Power Pledge) to gauge interest in Avon Lake,” Fenderbosch said. 

Terska June 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Millions of tropical birds must cross Lake Erie at night each spring and fall on the spectacular migrations from the tropics to the boreal forests of Canada. What steps will be taken to be sure these windmills don't become meat grinders of our migrant song birds? If the windmills are out in the lake the death toll will be unknowable. Is there any technology that will be included in to help wildlife avoid hitting these massive structures.
Paul Metz June 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Look at the facts. Windpower must be backed up by carbon or nuclear based power. In addition to the bird kill issue, the blades get covered by insects, reducing their efficiency by up to 25%. There is no good reason for the so called green power niche. And the power bills will increase. Why throw your money away. Oh, and there is still little irrefutable scientific evidence that reducing CO2 will fix the climate problem, if it exists.
Jennifer Fenderbosch June 21, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Terska: Thank you for bringing up the bird issue. Over two dozen agencies are involved in the application process to build wind turbines in Lake Erie. Bird studies were done to satisfy ODNR and Coastal Management. Part of the reason of why the location was selected for the six wind turbines is based on the fact that they are not in the migratory plane. The migratory bird flyway is west in the Toledo area. If migratory birds were to come through, the turbines could be shut down during the migratory season.
Jennifer Fenderbosch June 21, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Paul Metz: Great Lakes generated wind power is one option from a portfolio of USA generated power sources. Speaking of inefficiencies, new technology needs to be implemented for electricial power distribution and transmission for all forms of power generation. Did you know that every time you turn on a light that 75% of the kilo watt has been lost from the generation source (it does not make any difference what source) through the distribution and transmission lines to your home? Part of the electrical grid generation source may come from nuclear, some from coal, some from gas, some from hydro, some from solar and yes, some from wind. By increasing the portfolio to include wind, it creates lesser dependency on a finite source of generation. Wind does not spew particulates in to the atmosphere; thus, it helps those who suffer from respiratory ailments. Wind does not contribute to acid rain. Off shore wind turbine structures add to fish habitats by creating artifical reefs for them to lay their eggs. Anglers are thrilled when turbines are constructed off shore. The Cleveland Project is in the running to be one of the top three projects in the USA. The funds are going to be distributed to the top three projects. Wouldn't it be great for our region to be one of those selected to receive the $46.7 million? By offering the option for people to voluntarily sign the Power Pledge, we are giving the public the right to choose if they want to pay a premium for part of their electricity to come from Lake Erie wind generated power. It may not be right for everyone but for those who choose to sign the Power Pledge they can demonstrate that they are interested in Lake Erie Wind.
Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm June 23, 2013 at 09:53 AM
Wind turbines provide 30 percent energy, need a back up plan and are costly. After 11 years of killing birds and operating as inefficiently as the Dutch windmills they need replaced. Like Gore's lies about global warming, in years to come people will see what they paid for and cry. It takes a battery to operate an electric car and pretty much windmills have too many flaws and noise. We got rid of the horse and carriage because of America's great technology and the car. Windmills are blowing taxpayer expense nothing.
Paul Metz June 23, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Jennifer Fenderbosch: From another viewpoint, I am against using my tax dollars for wind power. And Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm adds good points to the anti-windpower debate. I am an electrical engineer who has studied this issue for a long time. Soon I will be faced with fighting this issue off the shores of NC where I currently live. I lived in Avon during the pollution and acid rain era. Why not bypass windpower and go to nuclear that fixes all the problems you referenced. I now live 4 miles from a nuclear power plant in NC. It's a perfectly safe area to live. Windpower is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Speaking of noise, have you ever driven through a wind farm in CA? Oh, the bigger the blades, the greater the low pitched sound that will travel nicely across the water.
Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm June 23, 2013 at 08:54 PM
so many birds are killed--including the protected bald eagle that if a business killed it or got a spot of oil on it--the fines would be tremendous--well the bald eagle is killed...many endangered species are killed....and we all know coal stokes a battery and a battery operates these electric cars and these windmills....these EPA Green people are pushing for something that is worthless...very worthless.
Jim Sabrey June 24, 2013 at 04:53 PM
There is always misinformation out on the internet. There have been lots of studies, done over years, to prevent most, if not all , of the problems that other turbine projects encountered regarding migratory patterns and the like. Has what you pointed out happened? Yes. But we try to learn from every mistake in order to prevent its repeat. I hope you both, and everyone who has questions, come to this meeting or a LEEDCO or Great Lakes Energy meeting and get the facts.
Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm June 24, 2013 at 09:13 PM
EPA and all this green thinking and requirements of business is closing the Power Plant...and if the stupidity of Al Gore's lies and liberals misinformation continues--America won't be allowed to live on this earth because we drink and pollute the water, eat the vegetation, breathe the air and build to live comfortably--oh and we eat animals and that requires killing them--think--AMERICANS can create better than an overpriced federal tax money from us trumped up windmill
Eric Loescher June 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM
I for one would like to sign the pledge. Did any of the negative bloggers here think about job creation through maintenance and service this project will bring? Nuclear power seems clean, until you have to deal with the hazardous nuclear waste byproducts. Burning fossil fuels can't honestly be thought if as better for the bird population than wind power, seriously? Power will always come at a price in our lifetime. Minimizing the environmental impact cost is always a plus in my book. Thank you Jennifer for your efforts. Kathleen, why so bitter? You used to be such a bright positive light for progressive change in our community?
Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm June 25, 2013 at 03:00 PM
all batteries require electricity that comes from coal..yep
Terska June 29, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Thanks for answering my question Ms. Fenderbosch. I agree with you that wee need a mixture of power sources and that it is unwise to only depend upon coal. Wind power will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Our tax dollars directly and indirectly go to supporting fossil fuels so why not other sources of energy that are cleaner? It's funny that those that hate green and alternative energy think that fossil fuels operate without tax subsidies. I believe the figure is about $80 billion per year not counting the military budget that goes to protecting fossil fuel markets.
Paul Metz June 29, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Tax subsidies in any form for any kind of power is an outrage. If users want to pay directly through rate increases for the priveledge of green, so be it. I resent that my tax dollars will be awarded to Cleveland for something that has no economic value. Not one power station has been been replaced by wind power anywhere in the world. If wind is so great, why not?
Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm June 30, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Let's start with the windmill located in the Sheffield Lake shopping center--dumb. Let's move to the city of Avon Lake who won't put up towers for cable and now wants these monstrosities in their backyard dumber. Now, let's understand that these windmills provide 30 percent power and the rest noise, dead birds and need a back up plan--dumbest for a city to invest. Please community think this through; expensive and a lark.

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