Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

May 4, 2007

Windmill plans face a jumble of regulations

The Cleveland Plain Dealer details these problems with wind power in Lake Erie:

A national study of wind energy points out what advocates of a Lake Erie wind farm have emphasized – the lack of policies and guidelines at all levels of government adds complexity and time to wind projects.

Ohio generates a mere 7 megawatts of wind power. But an alternative-energy task force, appointed by the Cuyahoga County commissioners, is pursuing a wind project of five to 10 turbines, generating up to 20 megawatts three miles off the shore of downtown Cleveland.

The county task force found it would need nearly a dozen approvals at the state and federal levels, from agencies that have never dealt with offshore windmills.

The possibility of erecting windmills in Lake Erie raises a number of environmental concerns, including the destruction of migrating birds.

The National Research Council study found no evidence that wind turbines have done significant damage to bird populations, but it called for more study.

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