CLEVELAND — The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $3.7 million grant to a company doing engineering work on a proposed wind turbine project in Lake Erie.
Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. is aiming to build a 20-megawatt demonstration wind farm in the lake northwest of downtown Cleveland. Current cost estimates are between $120 million and $128 million.
As a regional economic development corporation, LEEDCo’s efforts are focused in Lorain, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga and Lake counties.
The DOE grant is the third the department has given LEEDCo, bringing the total in federal funding to $10.7 million, Cleveland.com reported.
The department wrote in a memo to the Ohio congressional delegation that the additional funding will support the company’s offshore wind research and development progress.
The grant depends on a partnership between LEEDCo and a Norwegian wind developer that provides a $1.9 million cost share, bringing the total funding available to nearly $5.6 million.
The DOE had made LEEDCo a runner-up when it announced in 2014 that it would be awarding $47 million in grants to offshore projects in the Atlantic Ocean.
LEEDCo is hoping the department will declare it a finalist and move a primary grant to the project since others have fallen behind the government’s engineering development schedule.
David Karpinski, an engineer and LEEDCo vice president, said the goal is to complete detailed electrical and mechanical engineering designs.
The company wants to have the wind turbines built and functioning by the end of 2018, he said.
The project would be the first offshore freshwater project, meaning the foundational designs would have to be able to withstand ice on the surface as well as underwater ice dams and ice floes.