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Lake Erie Wind Farm Gets Final Federal Permit, Awaits State Approval

Erik Drost

A $126 million plan to put six wind turbines in Lake Erie is one step closer to winning final approval. 

The Army Corps approved construction of the Icebreaker Wind renewable energy project, the last federal permit needed. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEEDCo, is in charge of the proposed wind farm, which could power 7,000 homes.

LEEDCo vice president of operations Dave Karpinski said the company is now waiting for approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board, which has been considering the proposal since last September.

“There’s nothing in the state that state agencies can kind of look to that’s same, right? There’s something similar, you know, like we have land-based turbines, so I think that’s kind of what we’re dealing with is just the newness and the first of its kind nature," he said.

Karpinski also said the Army Corps approval is a good sign.

“This does help kind of show that there’s increasing momentum, and, you know, anything that can help to kind of move that process forward in Columbus would be helpful," Karpinski said. "We’re optimistic we’re going get that one too, it’s just, you know, things take time, and we’re working with state agencies in Columbus to get that one finalized and get the last one that we need.”

If approved, construction on the renewable energy project should be able to start in the summer of 2021. The project would be the first freshwater wind farm in North America.