A project to put wind turbines in Lake Erie has collapsed amid higher-than-expected costs and other challenges that doomed the project.
The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., which sought to put six wind turbines on the lake about eight miles from Cleveland, announced in early December it has “made the difficult decision to temporarily halt the Icebreaker Wind project,” according to Cleveland,com.
The project, dubbed Icebreaker, was considered to be a test that proponents said would usher in a new era of clean energy.
As the first proposed freshwater wind farm in North America, its supporters viewed it as a chance to see if the Great Lake — and its freezing winter temperatures — would have been too inhospitable a host for the project.
“Given the set of circumstances right now we don’t have a way to push things forward unless something changes,” said Will Friedman, who is a development corporation board member and president and CEO of the Port of Cleveland, according to Cleveland.com.
Icebreaker Wind project halted, no plans to resurrect effort to put wind turbines in Lake Erie: A pilot project to bring wind power to Lake Erie has been put on hold amid rising costs and other challenges that have delayed progress and dimmed its chances… https://t.co/2OQduhMa4P pic.twitter.com/LjpjuUAaHg
— Alabama Wind (@alabamawind) December 19, 2023
Friedman said the project had received a $50 million grant from the federal government, according to Cleveland.com. With the announcement, $37 million of that money is being returned.
The blog Master Resource — published by the Institute for Energy Research — chortled that “The Great Lakes will not be ‘the Saudi Arabia of wind.’ Less is always best with government-dependent industrial wind.”
A news release posted by the Port of Cleveland cited “frivolous and costly lawsuits funded by dark money tied to fossil fuel interests” and concerns for the impact of the turbines on birds as contributing to the death of the project, which had been proposed in 2009.
“This burdensome litigation caused years of delays and significant expense. The delays have led to a constrained economics for the project,” the release said.
Icebreaker Wind project halted, no plans to resurrect effort to put wind turbines in Lake Erie https://t.co/w7m3zh86Vy
— Thomas Suddes (@ThomasSuddes) December 8, 2023
The release also noted that a pause in the development of the project was triggered by a condition that turbines not operate at night for several months out of the year to protect birds. Although that ruling was overturned, the release said it was a critical factor that contributed to its failure.
The end of the Lake Erie project comes as other wind farm projects are battling headwinds.
Multiple offshore wind projects are not only failing to achieve the results they promised but are costing companies huge chunks of cash.
I love the idea of solar & wind energy, but I’ve always wondered about the monetary cost, and the environmental costs of mining all the resources for all the necessary batteries. https://t.co/poa9JMdFDx
— Tom (@TomjRace) December 9, 2023
General Electric, for instance, said it expected to lose $1 billion in 2023 and again in 2024 because of its offshore wind project losses, according to Bloomberg.
Munich, Germany-based Siemens Energy is looking at a loss of 4.5 billion euros , according to Fortune while Orsted A/S, based in Fredericia, Denmark, is facing a loss of $2.3 billion due to its wind projects, according to Bloomberg.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.