Lake County to continue support for LEEDCo project on wind turbines

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Lake County commissioners agreed Monday to continue collaboration with Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. on a project to develop wind turbines for clean energy in Lake Erie.

The agency was founded in 2009 and members include Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lorain and Lake counties, the city of Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation and NorTech.

As a public-private partnership, the agency represents Northern Ohio's public interest in offshore wind and works to develop an initial 20- to 30-megawatt demonstration project in Lake Erie, seven miles off of the Cleveland shoreline.

If successful, the goal is to work toward a 1,000 megawatt target by 2020.

Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish is Lake County's representative on LEEDCo's board.

He reminded commissioners that LEEDCo's "Icebreaker" project earlier this year was awarded $4 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding through Feb. 15, 2014.

Private partners committed an additional $1 million in cost share for this portion of the project.

LEEDCo is now working to put together an application that is due Feb. 14 to compete to receive an additional $46 million in funding, Aufuldish said. The application's final document can be up to 25 pages and can include backup documents.

He said LEEDCo then would appear April 7 before the U.S. Department of Energy to give a 50-minute presentation that also will allow for 10 minutes of questions.

Three of seven projects applying for the federal funding are slated to received funding.

"We'll have to wait to see if LEEDCo is successful," Aufuldish said. "If they are not successful, we will probably disband the organization because there won't be any more money available."

The commissioner said officials involved with the LEEDCo project feel that jobs would be created by putting together the turbines and then putting them into the lake as a new industry would be created in the region.

In other news, Budget Director Joel DiMare said the county's carryover for the general fund heading into next year is close to $5 million.

Commissioner Daniel P. Troy said that figure is higher than what officials initially anticipated when the budget was passed earlier this year.


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