As the well publicized race to win approval for the first offshore wind farm in the United States seems to have been won by the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, the race to build the first freshwater wind farm in the United States is still undecided.
But on Monday, the nonprofit Lake Erie Energy Development Corp inched ahead in that race by signing a deal to buy five of GE's 4-megawatt offshore wind turbines for a freshwater offshore wind farm on Lake Erie in Ohio. If all goes as planned, the order will be the first of many.
Lake Erie Energy Development Corp has a long-term goal of building out freshwater wind energy to have a capacity of producing 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020.
Exactly where the turbines will be located has yet to be determined but the turbines will be placed 3-5 miles offshore in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
GE has estimated that offshore wind turbines could grow to become a $3 billion to $5 billion business for the company.
The announcement was made at the American Wind Energy Association's annual WINDPOWER Conference in Dallas.