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The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) says it has assembled a team of local experts and partners to help in the development of an offshore wind project in the Great Lakes.

Last December, LEEDCo was awarded $4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to install nine 3 MW direct-drive wind turbines on monopile foundations in Lake Erie.

The team for the "Icebreaker" project consists of approximately a dozen partner organizations. In addition to the DOE, the other partners include Siemens, URS, Offshore Design Engineering Ltd., Freshwater Wind, Eranti Engineering, DNV KEMA, Bayer Material Science, the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, COWI (and its U.S. subsidiary, Ocean Coastal Consultants), Project Management Consultants and McMahon DeGulis LLP.

The group will submit the results of its work to the federal government. The DOE will evaluate the results of the seven technology demonstration projects and will select up to three of those projects to each receive an additional $46 million in funding during a four-year period. In order to win the next round of funding, the LEEDCo team will do the following within the next year:

  • Address critical technical objectives, including evaluating and selecting the optimal turbine foundation design; reviewing installation, operations and maintenance methodologies; researching the challenges and solutions for icing conditions; and assessing the technical and financial feasibility of the overall project;
  • Complete the necessary permit applications; and
  • Secure power purchase agreements with potential customers, and address initial interconnectivity considerations.

The Icebreaker project will give Siemens the opportunity to test new icing technologies that could be applied around the world, LEEDCo notes.

“We are working on a de-icing mechanism for the blades,” explains Thomas Mousten, head of offshore wind, Americas at Siemens Energy Inc. “Ice on the blades can cause an imbalance of the rotor, which would require the wind turbine to be shut down until ice is removed. We are working on a way to heat up the blades to reduce the amount of downtime due to ice.”


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