A Cleveland company that’s trying to build the first offshore wind farm on the Great Lakes has been waiting since last July for the state of Ohio to certify its project. This month, the group filed more reports in the hopes of moving the Lake Erie project forward.
The documents filed by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) look at the impact six wind turbines off the coast of Cleveland might have on birds and bats. They include a March 2018 letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stating the project has “limited direct risk” to migratory birds and bats.
LEEDCo’s Beth Nagusky hopes these new documents will expedite the certification process for the offshore wind farm.
“We see absolutely no reason for any more delay on our permit application before the Ohio Power Siting Board,” says Nagusky.
But Matt Butler of the Ohio Power Siting Board says agency staffers don't want to act hastily.
“This case is not only the first of its kind before the board, but it’s also the first of its kind as a freshwater wind farm proposed in the United States," he says.
He says the board staff wants to take their time with the application, and make sure they have all of the information they need. Butler says the state delayed the permitting process in October 2017 because staff wanted additional information on LEEDCo’s plan to monitor the project’s impact on wildlife.
Nagusky says unlike the state process, federal permits should be in hand in the next few months.
Once the state permitting process starts back up again, the siting board staff will report on its findings and the agency will hold a public hearing in Cleveland.
Great Lakes Today is a collaboration of WBFO Buffalo, ideastream Cleveland, and WXXI Rochester.