Hundreds of thousands of wind turbines could someday stretch across the vast shorelines of the Great Lakes, promising clean renewable energy for the entire upper Midwest. The ambitious plan may still be decades from fruition, but early studies show great potential.
In the latest installment of an ongoing $1 million feasibility study focusing on Lake Erie and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, geologists say that the lake bottom shows promise — concluding that the bedrock could support the mammoth towers. If the proposed site continues to show promise, six to ten turbines and a research station could soon be under construction.
“We believe we are in a race to be first in the Great Lakes, and by doing so, the pilot project will blaze a trail for economic opportunities for the area,” Ryan Miday, spokesman for the project told the Washington Post. “This is about making this area a hub for wind energy. … It’s a vision of creating a new industry in this area centered around wind.”
If completed, the project would ship power to Cleveland and become the first freshwater wind farm in the United States. Other proposals are cropping up around the Great Lakes region, with Wisconsin exploring three Lake Michigan sites.
While there is little public opposition to the plans, past land-based wind farm projects have been hindered by aesthetic and ecological arguments. Lakes shore residents may take issue with an array of a hundred foot towers. Scientists, too, don’t know how sub-aquatic power lines and vibrations would affect local fisheries.
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Source : Washington Post
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org