"Great Lakes Gets Its First Wind Farm – But Some Fear Environmental Fallout"

"Icebreaker would be North America’s first ever freshwater offshore wind project – but locals express concerns over wildlife and potential oil leaks".

"With a surface water area larger than the entire UK, the five Great Lakes might seem like an obvious location for offshore wind. The US Department of Energy says that the lakes collectively boast the potential to provide 700 gigawatts of offshore electricity – enough to power millions of homes.

Nonetheless, projects and proposals have failed to get off the ground. Until now.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (Leedco) is planning to build Icebreaker, a demonstration wind farm generating 20 megawatts of electricity several miles off the shore of Cleveland. The project would initially be small, starting with six turbines, with construction expected to begin as soon as 2025 and electricity coming online two years later.

And yet, it’s a game-changing move as North America’s first ever freshwater offshore wind project.

Icebreaker could pave the way for a new energy landscape for the US’s Great Lakes communities, a region of about 34 million people that’s heavily dependent on fracked natural gas and oil. Organizers of the project have suggested that, should it be successful, follow-on projects could provide up to 5,000 megawatts of electricity in the decades to come."

Stephen Starr reports for the Guardian August 16, 2023.

Source: Guardian, 08/17/2023