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LEEDCo settles on a key piece of the design of its Lake Erie wind farm
Poles will stand some 150 feet on the floor of the lake

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
A rendering of the ice-breaker
Courtesy of LEEDCo
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In The Region:

The company planning to build a pilot wind farm on Lake Erie has taken another step closer to its goal.  The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., or LEEDCo, has chosen a design for the foundations to support the massive turbines.

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports the decision determines two-thirds of the cost of the project.

LISTEN: A key development in Lake Erie wind

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Soil samples taken earlier this year allowed engineers to design the massive steel foundations.  The monopile – a single steel cylinder - was chosen as the most cost effective alternative.  But LEEDCo’s David Karpinski says installing the 150 foot long poles, 18 foot in diameter , will present an enormous engineering challenge.

“It’s one thing to fabricate such a structure, but it’s a whole other thing to be able to transport it to the lake, get it on a vessel, take the vessel out and get it installed.”

LEEDCo is racing to meet a February deadline to win federal funding for the project.  They’re one of seven offshore wind projects in the U.S. competing for three $50 million Department of Energy grants, but Karpinski says LEEDCo is the only one in the Great Lakes .

“There’s a lot of work to do. There’s nothing guaranteed and we’re not taking anything for granted, but we do like our chances, that’s for sure.”

LEEDCo plans to build six turbines on Lake Erie at a cost of $127 million. The turbines will produce 18 MW of electricity when fully powered.  So far the only customer is the City of Cleveland, which has promised to purchase 25 percent of the output.

Related WKSU Stories

Drilling for wind on Lake Erie
Friday, May 10, 2013

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