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Breaking the Ice: the Future of Offshore Wind in Northeast Ohio

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On Friday, April 28th, we went to the City Club for a panel discussion focused on the Icebreaker Wind Project in Lake Erie titled "Breaking the Ice: the Future of Offshore Wind in Northeast Ohio" that consisted of Ms. Elizabeth Miller, Ideastream Reporter/Producer, interviewing Mr. Patrick Fullenkamp, Director of Technical Services at GLWN Global Wind Network: Ms. Shilpa Kedar, Program Director for Economic Development at the Cleveland Foundation; Mr. Andrew R. Thomas, Executive in Residence at the Energy Policy Center at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at CSU; and Dr. Lorry Wagner, President of LEEDCo, which is coordinating the Icebreaker project.

We arrived early and visited with Ms. Peggie Jo Shinagawa, who was there with her husband Mr. Alan Shinagawa, who, like us, was very interested in the future of wind power. We also talked to a mechanical engineer who was there for the same reason. Of course, we always like to see our friend, Mr. Neil Dick who is part of a task force addressing the issue of deer culling in Shaker Heights so we had an informative conversation with him on that subject.

We were pleased to have as guests at the City Club for this program the four honorees from the "Stop the Hate" contest that we attended earlier in the week. In fact, Ms. Zephaniah Galloway, the Grand Prize Winner from Cleveland Early College High School at John Hay, got to read her essay once more. What we really admired about it was its terrific blend of seriousness and occasional humor which made it all the more effective.

We have been following the progress of the Icebreaker Wind Project and have written about it before in this blog. Let usbriefly recap by saying that it calls for 6 wind turbines to be built 8-10 miles offshore in Lake Erie. These turbines have the potential to generate power for 6,000 homes and construction is slated to begin in 2018. It is believed that these 6 wind turbines will be the starting point of "an offshore wind industry in Northeast Ohio" which will "create jobs and generate clean energy locally" as the literature about it states.

On this day at the City Club the panel addressed such issues associated with Icebreaker such as its economic prospects for the region; what has been learned from successful and unsuccessful wind energy projects; the amount of energy produced by wind compared to natural gas (wind is steadily gaining); and environmental safeguards.

Heavily involved in this project is "Fred Olsen Renewables' which is a Norway-based company that has been involved in the creation of a number of renewable energy projects in Europe. We met Mr. Oyvind Lund, Projects Director, and Mr. Arne Lonberg, Contracts and Procurement Manager when we attended the "Icebreaker Wind Supply Chain Open House" on December 8th, 2017 at the Holiday Inn in Independence in which 300 local businesses explored how to become involved in this enterprise.

What really attracts us to the Icebreaker project, in addition to what we believe is the outstanding potential of wind energy, is the coming together of international talent. During the Q and A, we asked the panelists to talk about this and Dr. Wagner agreed that the Icebreaker project was an "incredible" combination of expertise from such countries as Finland, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States. What's more, there is a lot of knowledge to be gained from Icebreaker that will certainly be put to use in areas throughout the world.

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC