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Ohio will soon be home to North America’s first-ever freshwater offshore wind farm as legislators approved its plans, reported Gizmodo. The project, called the Icebreaker wind project, was unanimously voted in on Thursday by the Ohio Power Siting Board.
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It is a six-turbine installation that will be constructed off the Lake Erie shore near downtown Cleveland. The Icebreaker wind project will generate 20.7 megawatts of energy or enough to power 7000 homes.
It should be noted that currently there are only five freshwater offshore wind farms in the world. This is due to the problems caused by ice water during the winter.
The Icebreaker farm has special technology for dealing with ice sheets. It consists of a design featuring large inverted cones that push the ice down and away from the turbines.
“The work that has gone into ensuring this project can safely operate in a freshwater setting opens up new possibilities for clean energy moving forward,” Miranda Leppla, vice president of energy policy for the Ohio Environmental Council, told Earther in an email.
“This particular demonstration project will help us not only achieve cleaner air and healthier communities, but it will also put Ohio on the map as a leader in renewable energy technologies as this project.”
Unfortunately, the project is already seeing some opposition. The rules the siting board approved indicate that for nine months out of the year, the farm must stop the turbines from working during nighttime to protect birds and bats.
This would obviously massively reduce the amount of revenue the project could produce, hindering its construction. The Icebreaker farm has also attracted the attention of so-called bird conservation groups and fossil fuel magnates who are trying to shut it down.
Murray Energy, the largest private coal company in the U.S., paid nearly $1 million to an anti-renewable energy law firm in Ohio while two shady bird conservation groups filed lawsuits.
Still, it seems the Icebreaker farm is slowly but surely pushing forward. And that is a good thing as the state and the country need renewable energy now more than ever.