Buffalo, NY gets 6 more Turbines at Steelwinds

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 07/09/2007 - 16:29.

The following log entry was placed by Brian Wroblewski on his Buffalo, N.Y. Great Lakes and Seaway shipping blog

 

“6-25 The Hamburg Town Board gave BQ Energy permission on June 25th for six  more turbine towers. The Steel Winds project site is located along the lakefront on ISG Steel property near the Lackawanna border with the Town of Hamburg.” This will bring the total number of installed turbines at the Lackawanna site to 14. You can see a view of the first 8 turbines here .

 

What is significant about this news from Hamburg, N.Y is that Cleveland is falling further and further behind. The wind turbine plan proposed by the Cleveland Foundation, County Prosecutor Bill Mason and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners is so bold (farfetched would be a better word) it won’t happen. This is great news for the coal industry in Southern Ohio and in Virginia, but when it comes time for the area with wind experience to step into manufacturing, it won’t be Cleveland or Cuyahoga County or NEO. Because we won’t have any experience – just that dream of iconic turbines “about 3 miles out on Lake Erie”.

 

While at the Solar Conference in the Cleveland Convention Center yesterday, Susan Miller and I spoke with Dr. Stefan Schmitz from the London, UK office of Squire Sanders Legal Counsel Worldwide. Squire Sanders was the only Law firm exhibiting at the solar show. Dr. Schmitz was very familiar with wind turbine farms, and mentioned that his firm had been retained by one of the three finalists contractor/developers in the Cuyahoga turbines  “about 3 miles out on Lake Erie” venture.

 

The financial scale of the 10 turbines proposed for Lake Eire by the Commissioners is far too small to attract any bona fide attention because costs – such as the legal costs - don’t scale down by the megawatt output of a wind farm. In other words, a 100 megawatt wind farm will have essentially the same legal costs as a 20 megawatt wind farm. Dr. Schmitz said that as a rule of thumb a $50 million dollar project was necessary at a minimum to make the project economically attractive. Also, since the experienced wind farm developers – both in Europe and the US – have plenty of land based projects, none have, or will show any interest in the very high risk and untried placement of turbines in Lake Erie.

 

So why are the Cuyahoga County Commissioners set to push ahead on a totally impractical project, while Hamburg, N.Y. puts more and more wind power into the grid and gains valuable experience in wind technology application? Doesn’t make any sense, especially for Cuyahoga County with its poverty and lack of jobs.

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