Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Offshore Wind on Lake Erie?

Energy
Offshore Wind on Lake Erie?

Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation

By Donny Davis

Offshore wind is coming and the question is whether or not we decide to be a leader or be left out.  History has shown that we did not invest in the future by anticipating emerging industries, therefore we only marginally enjoyed the benefits of the IT and BioTech Revolutions. If Ohio fails to embrace the “all-of the-above” approach to energy, we will miss yet another first-mover opportunity.

Global offshore wind investment will hit $104 billion by 2017, according to Pike Research. These private sector investments result in job growth for this booming yet still young industry.  As of 2011, Europe’s offshore industry is employing 45,000 and may reach 300,000 by 2030. Even France, with 80 percent nuclear energy, invested $14 billion in offshore wind because they see economic development for French companies.  Understand this is not just “Europe Being Europe.” Companies like Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Daewoo, Fuji, and Toshiba are poised to take advantage of offshore wind opportunities in Asia, India, Canada, South America, and eventually Lake Erie.

As usual, the current debate points at the complexity of energy cost. One side grapples over subsidy disparities and the inclusion of “real costs” like air and water quality. The other side upholds the argument that the free-market dictates all.  To be clear, all forms of energy receive subsidies at both the state and federal levels. The government subsidizes all energy sectors because it avoids picking winners. Fortune 500 companies like General Electric or Siemens didn’t pick winners, they do it all.  Energy is not just a commodity, it’s a major economy and committing to a diverse portfolio will continue building it.

The government has always invested in energy. In 1957, nuclear was 50 cents per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) and government investment helped play a role in lowering this by more than 80 percent. Onshore wind also started at 50 cents. Research investment (at NASA Glenn in 1974) helped make us a world leader until the 1980 divestment. Today most of this multi-billion dollar industry is located overseas. While it has come back here as a low cost energy source ($0.05/kWh), it is without jobs we could have had.

Look at hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and George Mitchell, a Texas oil man who helped bring shale extraction to cost competiveness. Interestingly enough, the venture capitalist for this new process was what is now the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 1976, the DOE embarked with Mitchell on what was then called “slick-water fracking.” Today, Ohio sees this as an economic opportunity, but not until decades of continuous support helped make the industry successful.

In addition to shale, Ohio is home to a massive resource of offshore wind energy, one that the DOE wants to make investments in. Northeast Ohio-based regional non-profit Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation can help Ohio become beneficiaries of this investment with Icebreaker, a demonstration project seven miles out in Lake Erie.

Icebreaker is a $150-million blueprint for attracting a new industry to the region; an industry that can employ thousands of citizens. Demonstration projects are more costly than full scale deployment, but it is a necessary stepping-stone to drive future costs down. The magnitude of offshore wind paired with economies of scale will demand that towers and foundations are built locally; manufacturing will follow. By hosting the first project, Ohio shores of Lake Erie will become a launch pad for offshore wind development in the Great Lakes and a “know-how” hub for the nation.

As Energy Secretary Steven Chu said last month in Cleveland, “Our motto should be: ‘Invented in America, Made in America, and Sold Worldwide.” Ohio can lead the way in making this slogan a reality.’”

Protestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to "Count Every Vote, Protect Every Person" after the U.S. presidential Election in Seattle, Washington on November 4. Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.


Read More Show Less
A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less