Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 17:12.

curved wind turbine blade on truck near Boron CaliforniWhile the Offshore Wind Energy “Task Force” [headed by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor William (Bill) Mason and partially funded (and more than partially focused) by the Cleveland Foundation which is headed by alternative energy enthusiast Ronn Richard] has been measuring the ice thickness on Lake Erie off of Cleveland, Ohio - a brand new third generation of turbine blades is being installed in wind farms in California.  

Notice compound curved blade tip and votex shedding reinforcment rib at blade base.  (who is manufacturer?)

Clevehoga could have been doing the same if the “Task Force” had installed land based turbines four years ago.   But why put turbines on land in our back yard?   That could produce jobs (Paradis Inc. transport from Brooks, Minn. shows that there is work in rigging and  hauling the blades)  and upset the Ohio Coal Lobby which just got the AMPOHIO coal plant passed by the City of Cleveland.  No, Mr. Mason and Mr. Richard went NIMBY.  Chose to go to the moon…and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners put up a million of our tax money to pay for the trip.

Instead of installing land based turbines similar to those installed in 2004 by the municipal utility in Bowling Green, Ohio,  the “Task Force” has been pretending to figure out how to do what has never been done before…Put in fresh water turbines exposed to pack ice about 3 miles off of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

Is Clevehoga dumb, dummer, or dumbest?   Or corrupt, corrupter, or corruptest?

 Photo (composite) taken 2/11/09 on California Highway 58 east of Boron at intersection of Highway 395.

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Bill Mason and Wind Turbines...

I heard through the grape vine that Bill Mason doesn't know a wind turbine from a toaster oven (or some other small electric appliance).

Now I am not saying that his heart isn't in the right place, (5 miles north in the 32 degree water of Lake Erie?), but isn't there somebody here in a metro area of some 4 million (4 with six zeros) who mightn't have more of a clue about wind turbines/power than a prosecutor?

I would think that a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at Cleveland State (with all due respect to Cleveland State) would know more than a prosecutor, who should know laws and jurisprudence, but surely can't be reasonable expected to know both that and Mechanical Engineering.

 Just my $0.02.


There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

wind lawyer

Jeff Buster and I attended the ASES Conference in the Cleveland Convention Center in 2007 and there met Dr. Stefan Schmitz who was at that time with the London office of Squire Sanders. He has moved as of September 2008 to McDermott, Will & Emery. In the article linked below he makes a good argument that aligns with Jeff's argument that Cleveland should have begun to support turbine manufacturing before wind on the lake.

Schmitz is a lawyer with extensive knowledge of the regulatory hurdles ahead of wind farm projects. As I recall, he said that 10 turbines in the lake was laughable and not cost effective. The costs to do the legal work need to be offset by the return on investment. If you're going to do the legal work for three, you'd be better off erecting a much larger number of them. So if Cleveland is to be part of a renewable energy renaissance in wind, our current assets such as moribund manufacturing facilities and manufacturers who have the capability to fashion the component parts of the lagging turbine production industry could have been supported and providing green jobs already while a handful of local folks got up to speed on the wind industry.

"More than 90 companies in the state already crank out many of the 8,000 parts needed to build a wind turbine.

"We have companies making bearings, generators, electronics and fasteners [for wind turbines] within a half-hour drive of Terminal Tower," said Ed Weston, a task force member and expert on Ohio's wind energy supply chain.

That manufacturing capacity is a big reason the American Wind Energy Association is hosting a national, two-day conference, opening this morning at the InterContinental Cleveland hotel.

While the wind industry is growing fast, it's still constrained by a supply chain that can't meet the demand for wind turbine components."

Quadruple this and build a top to bottom tubine industry in Ohio, hire an expert and get those tubines spinning on land - then talk about ice in the lake.

Farmers in Ohio have plenty of prime land, and if the ethanol market continues to tank (as it should), and if Obama lags in revamping agriculture subsidies as he has, farmers need the financial help that turbines sited in their fields could bring. 

The financial scale of the 10 turbines proposed for Lake Erie 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.

Developing and financing the American wind market 

Sometimes it is good to listen to an expert. Is Mason a legal expert on wind energy regulations? 

We have a few people here in Ohio who are doing double duty while there are surely other minds that could use the opportunity and have the expertise. Ronn Richard as the infrastructure czar to the federal stimulus is another prime example of a double dipper. While he already earns a salary near what bank CEOs will top out at, he has been handed a sweet job by Governor Strickland - "dole out the stimulus money for me, will ya, Ronn?" Ohio is still mired in the old boy network.

Wolfe Isl., Canada wind farm - 200 mega watts

A realneo reader just brought to our attention that Ontario Hydro (the provincial electrical utility) is installing 86 wind turbines on Wolfe Island - a small Canadian island off of Kingston, Ontario.  

Wolfe Island is reached by ferry both from the NY side and the Kingston side and is just west of the Thousand Islands.   

 Cleveland Public Power could have done the same thing in NEO four years ago, but Mr. Mason and Mr. Richard had a better idea.   

Measure the ice...


heres my two cents

I think you've touched on something, but its not a lack of technical knowledge. I think your comment about the frozen Erie came closer.

I worked public defender's office, juvenile in '98-'99, litigating their misdemeanor docket. This was mostly domestic violence cases slapped onto poor teenagers that had finally had enough of parental abuse and struck back (or sometimes not at all but the parents were using the system as a tool). But we also got a few of those kids on the brink of delinquency - the kind you'd like to do all you can to make this their last trip to the court.

Every morning would routinely start by meeting with the prosecutor on your cases. It was important to establish a good working relationship, which wasn't hard because most of the prosecutors were pretty cool people and everyone wanted the best outcome for a kid, right? Sometimes a case would have absolutely nothing - no witnesses, no evidence, nothing. And yes - sometimes the kid actually did nothing, particularly in those domestic violence cases. 

You've all heard the cop comment "Its not for me to decide, tell it to a judge."

But prosecutors shared what was going on in each case, in the interest of justice - just like we learned in law school. So in those cases, with the blessing of the prosecutor, we would ask for a dismissal and the kid would go home with the important lesson that the system works. Their belief of authority figures a bit less shattered.

Then entered Bill Mason as chief prosecutor.

Files slammed shut. Prosecutors became grim, tight lipped. The edict came from on high- "no dismissals - for any reason - ever". I was told if a prosecutor agreed to a case dismissal they would face immediate termination.

So much for justice and the winds of lake erie just blow colder. 

As for this "open discovery" computer process they finally coerced him into agreement on - the facts surrounding it smell awful fishy.

So, what was that about Bill Mason's heart?