The effects that Project Icebreaker will have on human environment are uncertain.
There is uncertainty to potential impacts on Lake Erie’s already fragile ecosystem
Wind Turbines are known to harm birds and wildlife. Millions of birds cross Lake Erie during migration periods each year. Lake Erie was named a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the Audubon Society. Lake Erie is also habitat to endangered and threatened bird species.
Wind turbines are known to leak oil, grease, and industrial lubricants [SOURCE: https://www.michigansthumb.com/news/article/Oil-leaks-at-wind-turbines-in-the-Thumb-not-a-9150402.php; https://dailycaller.com/2017/03/03/dirty-secret-behind-wind-turbines-they-need-lots-of-oil/; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-12/wind-power-pollution-turbine-oil-seeps-into-the-land-in-mexico]. Each of the proposed turbines will carry 404 gallons of industrial lubricants in their gearboxes. Where will the leaked lubricants go? Our Lake.
The Block Island Wind Farm, in the ocean off of Rhode Island, has found that “the area where the cable lines extend to the mainland, it’s completely devoid of fish. These used to be fruitful fishing grounds.” [SOURCE: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/03/16/plans-for-massive-offshore-wind-farms-stir-fears-among-fishermen/hzti6ZJw71WNmqFtLJepJI/story.html]
This project is expected to cost about $126MM to construct. It will result in a capacity of 20.7 MWh of power. The Steel Winds onshore project in Buffalo NY cost 75% to build AND generates more power.
Offshore wind turbine maintenance costs are 3-4x higher than onshore.
The useful life of a turbine is about 15 years, being generous, at which point many need to be decommissioned and removed. California has thousands of turbines that are abandoned and falling apart. Who will be paying this bill?
LEEDCo claims that Project Icebreaker will create “8,000 new good-paying jobs,” but that claim is linked to an Icebreaker document that details their plans to develop 5,000 megawatts of wind power on Lake Erie by 2030. This plan would require a wind farm consisting of 1,400-1,500 wind turbines.
Project Icebreaker’s own Environmental Assessment (EA) indicates a potential for 496 jobs during the build-out of Project Icebreaker’s six wind turbines.
- 159 jobs are temporary onsite construction and development personnel
- 187 jobs are supply chain industries supporting the development
- 150 are for supporting industries “through the spending of additional household income.“
- SOURCE: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/09/f55/EA-2045-LEEDCo-Final%20EA-2018.pdf
Project Icebreaker is estimated to create nine  full-time equivalent jobs
Lake Erie tourism, including vacation home rentals and lodging, is a $14 Billion per year industry. A recent North Carolina State University study shows that over half of vacationers would not rent if offshore wind turbines are in sight. [SOURCE: https://cenrep.ncsu.edu/2016/04/03/offshore-wind-tourism/]
Cleveland Public Power and Cuyahoga County have agreed to buy Icebreaker’s power for a price “not to exceed” $181 per megawatt hour. Power from the grid is currently available at $34 per megawatt hour. [SOURCE: https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2018/01/icebreaker_wind_project_in_cle.html]
Millions of Ohioans and non-Ohioans alike visit Lake Erie every year to fish, vacation, and enjoy the lake. What will happen with the Lake if Project Icebreaker becomes reality.
LEEDCo/Fred Olsen Renewables/Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. state that Project Icebreaker is a 6-turbine project. However, they also describe a vision of producing 5,000 megawatts of power using wind turbines on Lake Erie, which would require 1,400-1,500 wind turbines to produce. Project Icebreaker is a pilot project to test the feasibility of this vision.
Deceitful Public Communications
Project Icebreaker was started by LEEDCo, a non-profit based in Cleveland.
LEEDCo signed an agreement to sell their “assets” to Fred Olsen Renewables, of Oslo Norway. This makes Fred Olsen Renewables the owner of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc.
Icebreaker Windpower, Inc’s most valuable “asset” is a 50-year Submerged Land Lease with the State of Ohio, giving them the rights to the area where the turbines and power cables will be located in Lake Erie.
This provides a foreign-entity with the rights to the land under Lake Erie
LEEDCo/Fred Olsen Renewables/Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. state that Project Icebreaker is a 6-turbine project. They also indicate a vision of producing 5,000 megawatts of power using wind turbines on Lake Erie, which would require 1,400-1,500 wind turbines to produce. The organization is not clearly communicating their plans for the future development of offshore wind power on Lake Erie.