Earlier this week, General Electric (GE) and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) announced plans to partner and develop an offshore wind farm on Lake Erie. The initial 20-megawatt farm, scheduled for completion in late 2012, will be comprised of five turbines and located nearly 6 miles off the Cleveland shoreline. This project is a test for future wind developments, with a long-term goal of generating 1000 megawatts of power from Lake Erie wind turbines by 2020.
In addition to the wind farms, GE and LEEDCo are jointly looking into opportunities for making offshore wind technology economically viable for areas around the Great Lakes.
Does this story sound familiar to you? It should! That’s because Operation Mustard Seed launched Project Mustard Seed, the world’s first freshwater wind farm on Lake Erie, seven months ago. Although our project only had two turbines that stood eight feet above the water, it was also a test rig to prove the viability of generating wind power from Lake Erie, and was the first in a series of bigger and better projects.
Congrats to Cleveland for continuing to support offshore wind power development.
German-Austrian researchers are planning to go where no one has gone before, and develop the holy grail of green technology: a system for storing surplus electricity from wind farms or solar panels as climate-neutral methane. Why is this great? Because it’s sustainable. The hydrogen from water and CO2 from the air can be used and retrieved indefinitely.
With the help of a new process developed from the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wurttemburg (ZSW) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES), the researchers have succeeded in converting electricity into synthetic natural gas. A 10 megawatt system is projected to launch in 2012.
Stay tuned! A project similar to this may be on the not-so-distant horizon for OMS.
Last week, President Barack Obama approved a large-scale wind farm about six miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The 130-turbine farm had been in review for nine years, when U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the decision to move forward. Cape Wind, the company behind the farm, claims that it will be able to supply power to 75 percent of Cape Cod’s 225,000 residents by 2012.
This important implementation sets a precedent for other offshore wind farm projects currently fighting through legislative hurdles. The technology to develop a large-scale wind farm on a lake or ocean has been available for years, but projects have been delayed by bureaucratic red tape. With this decision, the government is finally acknowledging that renewable energy is more important than the visual aesthetics of coast lines.
We at Operation Mustard Seed were lucky enough to work with a supportive Coast Guard here in Cleveland, Ohio. Our legislative battles were minor, and only cost us about six months worth of time. The approval of Cape Wind sets the stage for smaller ventures, such as Operation Mustard Seed, to set up wind farms along inter-coastal lakes as well.
This is a victory for the entire country. But remember, as you read more in the coming months about the development of this farm – Operation Mustard Seed did it first.