Dear Lakewood, Ohio property owner,
We are contacting you to make you aware of a project under way that will devalue your property and change the quality of life you now enjoy as a Lake Erie riparian. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), a not-for-profit located in Cleveland – is currently planning a demonstration or prototype offshore wind factory slated to be erected in Lake Erie 5 miles offshore and north of Lakewood. (LEEDCo was first created by the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force in August 2009.) This project will be within the view of Lakewood shoreline property owners! The scheme is to place up to 9 industrial wind turbines in Lake Erie possibly as tall as 600’ above water. LEEDCo calls this project the “Icebreaker”. Here’s what LEEDCo’s web site say about the Icebreaker – “Icebreaker, the initial project, is designed to be a catalyst to building an industry in Ohio by capturing firstmover advantages associated with job creation and economic development.” The actual developer of the Icebreaker is Freshwater Wind I. Encouragement and financial assistance from Ohio’s Cleveland Foundation has nurtured this project for several years and last year LEEDCo secured $4 million in federal grant money to assist the project. Should LEEDCo’s idea become reality there’s no doubt offshore wind turbines could eventually entrench all the Great Lakes and essentially ruin the character of the entire Great Lakes system forever for the sake of unneeded, volatile, low quality, expensive, incurably intermittent, non-storable electricity. The LEEDCo project is merely a precursor for future aggressive offshore wind development that will amount to hundreds, maybe thousands of turbines in Lake Erie, transforming this lake into an enormous industrial complex for the rest of everyone’s lives.
A huge supporter of the LEEDCo Icebreaker project is Ohio Democrat U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Sen. Brown was quoted in a December 12, 2012 article in Cleveland’s Plain Dealer newspaper saying “These funds (the $4million federal grant [to LEEDCo]) means that we are one step closer to achieving our goal of making Lake Erie home to the first freshwater, offshore wind development in North America“. Brown also is quoted “This award reaffirms Ohio’s place as leader in renewable energy manufacturing and use,” The Plain Dealer article also said Brown feels offshore wind could eventually help create thousands of new jobs in Ohio and nationwide. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Democrat) also supports the Icebreaker and knows little about wind factories.
The Cleveland Foundation has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the LEEDCo Icebreaker project. And how’s this for a conflict of interest – Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ron Richard is also Chairman of the LEEDCo Board.
Another big LEEDCo supporter is Avon Lake City Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch.
Beware – LEEDCo will downplay and pooh-pooh what you’re about to read in this letter.
Apparent justification for the Icebreaker project is charlatans’ false proclamations that such a project will create jobs and a dramatically improved economy for Ohioans – jobs making wind turbines. The “jobs” promise is part of every wind scam and serves to suck in public official’s support, an abuse of innocent trust and the abdication of our environmental values. Wind energy always needs a dance partner and making Ohio a prostitute for this exploitation and rape of Lake Erie – is socially, environmentally, economically and technically reckless.
LEEDCo’s trying to establish Ohio as a cornerstone of the U.S. offshore wind industry, for jobs, is based on hope and hype. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), offshore wind energy is 2.6 times more expensive than onshore wind and 3.4 times more expensive than a natural gas combined cycle plant. Can Ohio businesses afford this? With the low cost and availability of natural gas in the U.S. northeast, why is Ohio chasing an expensive wind project dream? Horizontal fracking and the abundance of inexpensive natural gas is a certain killer for expensive hit & miss wind energy. What company or business could possibly want to undertake the overwhelming risk (in Ohio) to commence the design, engineering, manufacture and marketing of offshore wind turbines in today’s business atmosphere?
The LEEDCo Icebreaker project will use Siemens 3 MW direct-drive turbines per their web site – these may be foreign made turbines. LEEDCo’s web site says “…a 1,000 MW target by 2020” meaning 333 offshore turbines for Lake Erie. The LEEDCo web site also says: “…the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicating there is 46,000 MW of potential in Lake Erie…” Now divide the potential by the turbine output and you have the number of possible turbines that could be installed in Lake Erie in the future – is this somehow acceptable? Is this good stewardship of Lake Erie by Ohio? LEEDCo presently has no buyer for 75% of the Icebreaker project power output and only a Memorandum of Understandingwith Cleveland Public Power for the other 25% power – according to the LEEDCo web site.
We are also Great Lakes riparians and deeply concerned over activities currently being undertaken by Ohio’s LEEDCo Corporation. We are concerned that if any offshore turbines are allowed to be sited in Lake Erie – the same siting demise will soon follow in all the other Great Lakes.
Here’s a sample of what can go wrong:
Offshore turbines will collapse because of Lake Erie ice; create avian slaughter; create loss of darkness (flashing red strobe lights); 40% to 70% loss of riparian property values; disturbing unwanted noise from foghorns and maintenance equipment (helicopters) as well as the offshore turbine rotors whooshing themselves; be struck by lightening (and possibly catch fire that can’t be extinguished); function intermittently less than 30% of the time and out of phase with power demands; disfigure seascape aesthetics; divide communities; spill fluids (coolants, lubricants, etc.) from their nacelles into the lake (check internet photos of aging turbines showing these problems and more); it will be costly and difficult to decommission turbines (remove from the lake at end of life – look at California and Hawaii); towers and turbine-to-turbine electrical cables will cause sediment resuspension and increased turbidity of toxins that have lain dormant and safe at the lake bottomlands for decades; turbines will disturb marine life; will undermine tourism & recreation, will create safety and navigation problems for recreational boaters and fishermen; create safety and navigation issues for Great Lakes shipping vessels and commerce; future Lake Erie offshore wind projects can be owned by a foreign developer who could care less about negative impacts and nuisances their wind factory creates; turbines will create radar/communication and security problems for weather reports, boats and planes, offshore wind generated electric is the most costly, etc. for property owners and industry. An April 2013 US Army Corps of Engineers Fact Sheet said this about the Icebreaker – “The greatest unknowns currently include potential avian/bat impacts, ice concerns, and potential acoustic impacts to aquatic species.” With the Icebreaker or Great Lakes offshore wind – there’s no community benefits package, no property tax payments, no payments in lieu of taxes, no local control, no guarantee USA made turbines will be used or that USA workers will build and maintain the offshore project, and all of this leading toward energy poverty in the end. LEEDCo and the wind industry have unleashed half-truths, lies and exaggeration to foster the mouth-watering appeal or opportunity of offshore wind. Offshore turbines won’t produce electricity 70% of the time! These are only some of the negatives associated with offshore wind. All of this for these imposing hulks that just might last for 15 years – at 60% taxpayer funding – a further insult. Wind energy faddism enriches a greedy few at the expense of many. Has the Cleveland Foundation considered that in NYS the New York Power Authority two years ago suddenly dropped the Great Lakes Offshore Wind (GLOW) project they nursed for a long time mainly because they couldn’t find anyone to buy the expensive offshore-generated electricity?
Regarding the buried toxic substances, even if they are concentrated nearer to shore than the proposed turbine sites, transmission cables will need to be buried deeply below the lake bottom from turbine to turbine and then to shore, requiring extensive lake bottom excavation. Disruption of these chemicals will result in inevitable disruption and disbursement of these toxins. How will that impact fish and other wildlife? One can only imagine how drinking water will be impacted, as well as the fishing, boating, and tourist industries, and beaches and small businesses that rely on all of these activities. Every one of these industries and uses of Lake Erie are crucial to the lives of all citizens who use the lake and drink its water, and particularly to Ohioans. Once excavated, there is no turning back. Excavation isn’t the only water pollution issue. When offshore turbines collapse, leak, are damaged in severe weather, struck by lightning and otherwise fail, those hundreds of gallons of fluids in each turbine will end up in the lake. No one talks about the problem with trying to change and dispose of that oil. How is that done in the middle of Lake Erie at the top of 40-50 story towers? Where is all of that contaminated oil disposed of (what’s left after the amount that ends up in the lake, that is)? Who will pay to clean up private beaches and park beaches from toxic sediment? You will!
In an onshore wind project, the NYSDEC was able to contain a fluid spill by applying absorbent matter in the affected area, but then removed 45 tons of affected soil for disposal at a regulated landfill. All from ONE turbine accident. Imagine the consequence of similar spills in Lake Erie! In addition, the problem of turbine blade disposal is mounting. The mammoth blades are made of carbon fiber composite, the only known product durable and lightweight enough for turbine use. However, it is too toxic to be incinerated or recycled. In Denmark, with 6,000 aging turbines, thus 18,000 blades, and no plan for disposing of them, a 2011 article in Denmark’s leading business journal reported, “There exists no solution”. How will this be addressed in the US and in Lake Erie? The answer is obvious in California and Hawaii- just walk away. Leave the blight of rusted, crumbling, oily industrial wind “farms” to pollute and destroy the landscape forever. Is this the future of our Great Lakes?
Right now LEEDCo is attempting to lure Ohioans into pledging to buy a portion of their electricity from the LEEDCo Icebreaker project without them even knowing what their “green” electricity costs will be! Read the Power Pledge form on LEEDCo’s web site right now.
Do Ohioans know that nearly every NYS county bordering Lakes Ontario and Erie passed resolutions against offshore wind? Does Ontario, Canada’s moratorium (since Feb. 2011) on offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes – mean anything to Ohio government? Has the Cleveland Foundation accepted the fact the Ohio Third Frontier Commission voted NOT to provide up to $5 million to LEEDCo – voting down the proposal 6-2 last year? The Commission’s action does not speak well of the Icebreaker project.
Don’t take our word – look at LEEDCo’s web site and research for yourself. The web site address is: http://www.leedco.org/ While you’re there – have a look at the LEEDCo map showing the location of the Icebreaker turbines northeast of Lakewood in Lake Erie. LEEDCo claims the turbines are 7 miles offshore from Cleveland – which they are – however they’re only 5 miles offshore north of Lakewood!
These eyesores just may last 15 years at 60% taxpayer funding and make the foreign investors wealthy with double-digit returns while the lake is a victim of this environmental treachery. In early August of this year – the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has ruled First Energy overcharged its Ohio customers by $43.3 million for electricity generated by wind and solar. LEEDCo and its Icebreaker project is a taxpayer raid and sacrifice of Lake Erie – this should be discouraged and stopped.
LEEDCo has thrown neighbor Avon Lake riparians a carrot by saying that they will be able to buy electricity from the offshore wind factory that victimizes their seascape. This is misleading! Electric generated by offshore turbines will go directly onto the “grid” for distribution to all electric users. Only a miniscule amount of that power will ever reach the homes of Avon Lake riparians – and only when the turbines are actually producing electric. (less than 30% of the time – while the offshore turbines will never operate long enough to pay for themselves)
If Ohio allows the Icebreaker project to develop – the state of Ohio would simply not be acting as a
trusted, responsible environmental steward of Lake Erie.
STOP THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF LAKE ERIE!
The Lakewood community will be the guinea pig for this horrible experiment and will be cursed forever with whatever goes wrong with LEEDCo’s offshore wind development “demonstration” project. Offshore wind gets a free pass for the sacrifice of Lake Erie. Lakewood riparians MUST take action against the LEEDCo/Icebreaker and ignore their half-truths, exaggerations and lies that wind energy will bring jobs and a better economy to Ohioans. LEEDCo is trolling for continued government welfare a scam that will ultimately enrich the corrupt and bring environmental treachery.
Please visit our web site Great Lakes Wind Truth for more LEEDCo information at this address:
http://www.greatlakeswindtruth.org/ At this address we have outlined numerous suggestions for Ohio riparians to take to fight the Icebreaker project.
Do not hesitate to contact me by email if you wish to comment or ask questions. I prefer to be contacted via email and would appreciate feedback. Thank you.
Great Lakes Wind Truth