COLUMBUS — A company can proceed with plans to build what will be the first freshwater offshore wind-powered electric-generation facility in North America, in Lake Erie off the coast of Cleveland, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
At issue is the 2020 approval by the Ohio Power Siting Board of the project by Icebreaker Windpower, which proposed the six-turbine development about 10 miles north of Cleveland.
Residents of the Cleveland-area village of Bratenahl sued to stop the project, arguing the siting board didn’t have enough evidence to determine the project’s environmental impact and that the project doesn’t serve the public interest as defined in Ohio law.
The court ruled 6-1 that the board had multiple studies before it that found a low impact on birds and bats. The court also said the board properly determined the project would have “a minimal impact” on the public’s ability to enjoy Lake Erie.
A message was left with an attorney representing the residents who sued.
The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a 2019 environmental assessment that found no significant environmental concerns.