Senate Plan Imperils Lake Erie Wind Project

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CLEVELAND — Northeast Ohio leaders warned today that a state Senate proposal to repeal Ohio’s renewable energy portfolio standard for public utilities would significantly imperil an ambitious plan to develop wind energy in Lake Erie.

At issue is Senate Bill 216, a new proposal by state senators Kris Jordan (R-Powell), Tom Patton (R- Strongsville)and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) to repeal Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard. The existing standard, enacted three years ago, requires electric utilities (subject to some limitations) to provide 25 percent of their retail energy supply from advanced or renewable energy sources by 2025. Examples of advanced or renewable sources include clean coal, wind, and solar energy.

In a Cleveland news conference, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Ashtabula County Commissioner Daniel R. Claypool and Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo were joined by other area leaders in expressing concern about the proposal. If the renewable portfolio standard is repealed, this would significantly reduce private sector interest in the development of a 20 to 30 megawatt wind energy demonstration project in Lake Erie, they said. The effort is being promoted by LEEDCo., a collaboration of the counties of Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, and Ashtabula as well as the city of Cleveland, NorTech, and the Cleveland Foundation.

“We are in a race to capture the jobs that will come from the new energy economy. We can and should be a leader in pioneering new energy technologies that can be manufactured locally and sold globally,” FitzGerald said. “We are well positioned right now, but this proposal is a big step in the wrong direction.”

Among the area leaders joining FitzGerald, Claypool and Kalo were representatives of the Lake County Port Authority, the city of Cleveland and the Great Lakes Towing Co.