Three federal agencies taking input on Project Icebreaker, a wind farm in Lake Erie

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) as of Sept. 14 are requesting public input by Oct. 21 on the scope of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Project Icebreaker, an offshore wind energy demonstration project consisting of up to six turbines in Lake Erie, approximately eight miles from Cleveland, Ohio.

DOE is proposing to authorize the expenditure of federal funding to design, permit, construct, and decommission the proposed project. USACE anticipates receiving an application under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act for the proposed project. USCG is responsible for reviewing impacts related to navigation. DOE will be the lead federal agency in the preparation of the EA. USACE and USCG are cooperating agencies.

DOE, USACE and USCG are holding a public scoping meeting to provide details about the proposed project and the proposed scope of the EA, and to receive input from the public on these issues. The meeting will be held in an open house format on Sept. 28 in Lakewood, Ohio.

Project Icebreaker would be an approximately 21-MW offshore wind facility consisting of:

  • Six wind turbines
  • Five submarine cables including a fiber optic communications cable interconnecting the turbines (inter-array cables), in total approximately 2.8 miles
  • One 9-mile-long submarine cable, including a fiber optic communications cable (export cable) connecting the demonstration project to the new Project Substation located at the existing Cleveland Public Power (CPP) Lake Road Substation in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Installation of equipment including a Project Substation at the CPP Lake Road Substation to accept power from the project
  • Approximately 150 feet of new pole supported overhead transmission line to transmit electricity from the new project substation to the existing CPP Lake Road Substation

The offshore components of Project Icebreaker, including the turbines and inter-array cables, would be located approximately eight miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie. The export cable would traverse the lake bottom to shore where it would interconnect with the new project substation located at the CPP Lake Road Substation.

Construction activities would be supported by a proposed construction staging area at the lakeshore within the Port of Cleveland. The Great Lakes Towing (GLT) facility on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland is proposed as the location for the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Center due to the quality of the existing infrastructure and its close proximity to the project area.

Each turbine would have a nameplate capacity of approximately 3.45 MW and a blade rotor diameter of approximately 413 feet. The turbine array would be arranged in a single row generally oriented southeast to northwest. Spacing between each of the turbines would be approximately 2,520 feet. Each of the wind turbines would be supported by a mono bucket (MB) foundation. The inter-array cable from each turbine would be linked to the export cable at the turbine location closest to shore and would then make landfall at the project substation.

Project Icebreaker would consist of six Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Vestas Offshore Wind (MVOW) – Vestas 3.45 MW wind turbines. Each wind turbine consists of three major components: the tower; the nacelle; and the rotor with blades. Preliminary analysis indicates that the turbines would operate for approximately 8,000 hours annually, and have an approximate capacity factor of 43%. Project Icebreaker would generate approximately 77,400 MWh of electricity each year.

Fred. Olsen Renewables USA LLC/Icebreaker Windpower Inc. filed a Sept. 13 pre-application notice with the Ohio Power Siting Board regarding this project. Said the Sept. 13 letter: "The Applicant will provide clean renewable energy to Cleveland area electricity consumers and enable the study of offshore wind technology operations in a freshwater environment. The Applicant anticipates filing its application with the Board in the fourth quarter 2016. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2018, resulting in commercial operations in late 2018."

Separately, Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. on Sept. 13 told the Ohio board that it is withdrawing its application for a certificate to construct Project Icebreaker, which had been filed in February 2014. It noted that the Fred. Olsen Renewables USA LLC/Icebreaker Windpower application will replace and supersede its prior application.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.