? of the Day: Do you want to see windmills on Lake Erie?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 20:55.

 Much is being done to develop wind as a source for alternative energy in NEO - proponents hope to see an economically viable model develop for a large windfarm along Lake Erie - 50 or more huge turbines, looking very much like the one pictured below, lining the coast perhaps a half mile out - to me this offers power and a massive work of public art, and I am certain this will be a global attraction benefiting NEO in many ways. What do you think?

Extra credit - where is this windmill?


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wind on the lake

I don't know where this one is, but there is a new one at Great Lakes Science Center on Cleveland's lakeshore.  Here's the link: http://www.glsc.org/visit/upcoming.php?id=298 (turn the sound down before you click unless you want to hear the wack tape loop while you read) There's a picture of it here and some interesting dialogue, too. http://www.gcbl.org/

I have asked Green City Blue Lake to provide us with the Anemometer reads (from the crib) on their site like a current temp and weather link. Anyone think Beach and Lefkowitz can make that happen? Anyone at RealNEO want to try it? Who's gonna throw down the gauntlet on wind data in Northeast Ohio?

I can see it now... The scene in Talkies; the woman flips open her laptop and says hello to the person with whom she is meeting, but instead of saying, hang on a minute, I have to check my email, she says, "Hold on a minute, I want to check the wind speed and know just how many KW hours it might be producing right now..."

Andrew Watterson (Cleveland’s Sustainability Boy Wonder) said, in response to an architect at the Sustainability Forum with Cleveland Green Building Coalition, Case and the AIA a couple of weeks ago, that if the researchers can find a work around to offshore wind in fresh water (ice is an issue), Lake Erie would be the spot for wind in the Great Lakes. The towers, however, would not be adorning the backyards of Lake Avenue mansions; rather they would be placed beyond the intake crib -- a good 14 miles off shore. Unless your eyesight is REALLY good, they would appear as specks on the horizon. This, of course, would not diminish the good they would do.

I agree about their artful quality. They are so much prettier than Perry or Davis Bessie. Martha Eakin tells me that the prevailing wind in Cleveland is from the SSW. This may be why Gene Krebs of Greater Ohio is talking to Ohio farmers about rezoning portions of their farmland for wind towers -- tall wind. Jeff Buster, as noted in his posts on this site, is working on small wind -- something practical for the environmentalist who lives in town -- maybe not cell phone small, but smaller than what we're looking at here. But, best of all is Jeff and Martha's idea to power the RTA with wind -- Ride the wind -- take the RTA. Now that's innovative! That's green thinking.

Cleveland Foundation and wind

No kidding about WACK tape loop!

The photo is from Ronn Richard's office at the Cleveland Foundation - it's a small model of a wind turbine in his window. He says it is his dream to see a farm of 50 wind turbines along Lake Erie, and he has recently demonstrated the Cleveland Foundation's commitment to this with funding for the Science Center Wind Turbine mentioned above and for a new regional sustinability leader, and by hosting a roundtable on wind power this winter. With that level of support, I'm certain all options will be very thoroughly explored. As you mention, they will probably end up way off shore or in some distant farm where we'll never see them - what matters is the green. Very exciting.

Who is doing this already?

I was doing some searching on ofshore wind power and come accross the Cape Wind Project.

http://www.capewind.org I recommend visiting the site.
One thing to note about wind power is that Lake Erie has relatively light winds and would not produce full power output of a standard power windmill. There is an interesting entry on Wind power with a simple wind map at wikipedia.
USA wind map


 Hello Phillip!

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Why do you say “Lake Erie has relatively light winds and would not produce full power output of a standard power windmill”?   Keep in mind that the US wind map you link to is cut off at US/Canadian border in mid-lakes and shows no data for Canadian side.

It is my understanding that the 5 GL’s –if fully utilized - have the wind energy potential to supply ample electricity to satisfy ALL the present US electrical demand .

Texas is now the US state with the largest wind production, and you can see from the US wind map that Texas’s highest energy winds are several shades of blue lighter than the GL’s.  The proposed Cape wind project is in a wind regime similar to the GL’s.

What we are missing is intelligent (in fact we have NO) coordination of the use of the GL’s wind.   The Cleveland Foundation should be funding the big picture - which is bringing together the 8 states and 2 (or 3 with the St L. valley) provinces which border the GL’s for the development of legislation which will equitably and efficiently govern the  PUBLIC TRUST winds which are such a valuable resource in our region.  How will the water areas on which turbines are constructed be leased?  How will the lease funds be distributed?  The Cape wind project – on federal ocean land - would produce no income for the public.  That’s one of the best reasons to not permit the project.

The CF should not be discussing 50 wind turbines in front of Cleveland until a sensible wind resource plan  has been completed for all the GL’s.   We have the chance to bring power to the people – or allow it to become privatized while we stand by and end up with our wind reserves in the same inequitable mess as Nigeria's - and almost every other country's - oil production:  First Come, First Grabbed....

We need to organize your insight on wind here

Jeff, two interests Ronn Richard shares with you are development of our industries around wind and creating building recycling programs and on-demand workforce programs (LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS ASAP).

Regarding wind, I think you and Martha are more enlightened than anyone else in town so start packaging the right vision and selling it to the right people.

regional sustainability

    I was closed out of the most recent Rain Barrel workshops sponsored by Shaker Lakes Nature Center and Cleveland Botanical Garden (or whatever it's called now that you have to pay to visit nature in the city). That's right, I said CLOSED OUT!!!!

This is fabulous news. Not that I didn't get my 4 rain barrels made, but that there were so many people that they had to make a wait list and plan to do it again in June. I am thrilled that so many Clevelanders are beginning to know that their gardens and lawns much prefer rain/roof water to hose/treated city water, even if they don't know that we are paying a premium for all the water we treat and don't treat to put in the lake and river. One obvious premium is bacteria levels so high that you can't swim in what might be beautiful recreation spots along the lake and riverfronts never mind what it does to the fish.

    Visit the North East Ohio Regional Sewer District website and check out the CSO map. http://www.neorsd.org/cmweb/library/NEORSD-CSO-Locations.pdf

What would my first task for a new regional sustainability czar be? Visit all the municipalities and ask them to launch a downspout disconnect program in concert with their municipal water program and NEORSD. We could avoid treating many gallons of water simply by redirecting it to the lawn and not into the storm sewer. And don't give me this flood my neighbor's basement crap. If you do, the city should give to a permit to have your downspout connected -- the rest of us should get off the sewer line.

    When I see the drawings by Forum Architects for the Flats East Bank, and they are on a river colored blue, I have to wonder who is wielding that crayon and have they seen our Cuyahoga River lately? Blue it is not, and will not be, but it could be considerably cleaner. It can't be done by hiring one or two people, it will take a change in behavior by all of us living in the region.

A regional sustainability office is a solid idea -- a good use of the Cleveland Foundations millions. I have to wonder though how this can coordinate with all that is already happening here, i.e. what is NOACCA doing if not just that -- working at regional sustainability. Do we need another layer of beauracracy or just more education and cooperation among the players?

Downspout disconnect program great idea... next steps?

You are so right about our lack of awareness concerning water flow and processing - so glad to hear people turned out for rain barrel workshop. I love your ideas for the municipal water department to really promote smart water management - the current conditions are disgusting. Considering Jackson is proposing major suburban water system negotiations the timing is great.

Can you propose how to organize an awareness campaign?

regional water disconnect


Martha and I can put together some information about why to disconnect. Phone answers and web references about this should be in abundance.

I would also like to work on getting the remaining funds for the film The Return of the Cuyahoga that is being edited currently (they need $100,000 to complete it). That would be a major piece of education for stakeholders in the area -- a way for them to better understand the river's role in the development of the region historically. It is important for people living in Northeast Ohio to be reminded that the burning of the Cuyahoga was the big bang for the environmental movement. It propelled the Clean Water Act into creation.

If we could meet with the First Suburbs Consortium with some water experts such as Andrew Watterson or Shaker Lakes Nature Center or the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, we might begin to move the outlying suburbs toward instituting programs. This is a quote from their position paper –

"Drinking water infrastructure needs total $4.9 billion over the next 20 years.

Wastewater infrastructure needs are estimated at $7.4 billion.

These infrastructure challenges require resources and attention from the federal, state and local levels of government. Sewers and roads are perfect examples of infrastructure utilized by more than just one community. As local officials have long emphasized, “local” infrastructure needs are no longer simply a local concern. Yet, infrastructure continues to be handled independently, community by community or piecemeal by state and federal agencies."

All these municipalities have to make changes in their building codes and then get the word out to their residents. If there would be incentives for new construction, these would need to be discussed, but the voluntary approach is first. There is a wonderful film about cleaning the Willamette River in Portland. go here http://www.portlandonline.com/index.cfm?c=cicgb and click on A River Renewed. You can play it with your RealPlayer. It is an inspiration just as the film Hott Productions is making about the Cuyahoga will be.

Martha is back from the Windy City, so we will gather our forces to make a plan by week’s end. If you have any good contacts for this idea please reply or write directly to me to let me know.

Map the water issues

Sudhir is pulling together a group of open source GIS mapping experts to pursue a regonal mapping initiative - that is the perfect place to track the flow of water. Contact Sudhir at sudhir [at] realinks [dot] us

windmills seem like a great idea...

... and I'm glad that we are doing the tests to help us determine whether a large-scale project will make sense.

I also really like the idea of disconnecting our gutters from our sewer system -- I hadn't heard that as a proposal before. We just had new gutters installed, with a little trap in the bottom of each one so we can clean out any small bits of debris on a regular basis. I can't imagine that it would be so difficult to use a similar principle to put in diverters, so that in a huge storm that might threaten my basement or my neighbor's, I could divert stormwater back into the city drains temporarily (but most of the time, be collecting it in rainbarrels for our lawn and plants).

I'm delighted to hear that the Nature Center will have another rain barrel workshop in June, when my husband or I could attend!

Now, if I could just convince him that grass is not the best use of our backyard (I've given up on getting rid of the grass in the front yard, it's just too important to him, but the backyard would definitely be better off with multispecies permaculture rather than the struggling monoculture we have)...

Regarding your lawn: you may

Regarding your lawn: you may want to stay tuned to the work of these researchers. Listen here at NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5355841.

Interestingly, it is the huge storms that cause the CSOs. The water flows from the outfalls and scours the brooks destroying aquatic habitats. If you want to get rid of the monoculture and are worried about flooding, you might want to put in a rain garden. http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/nps/rg/links.htm

Additionally, I have been researching composting and have decided that even though we have a small yard, our pet waste can be added to the compost. After reading a lot on the subject and after many years of being dissatisfied with the suggestion to dispose of pet waste in a tied plastic bag, I am finally feeling educated enough to add it to the already cooking compost of kitchen and yard waste to make soil for our backyard. Joe Jenkins is the master of this movement. Undisturbed compost properly tended reaches 180 degrees even in Northern Vermont in the winter-- far hot enough to kill any bacteria we might worry about for growing our trees and grass and flowers.

We are still part of the summer sprinkling program of the NEORSD,  but hoping to reduce our water use substantially by not putting so darn much of it in the Doan Brook.

neorsd combined sewer map

great map Susan.   Now all people need is a relationship with a helpful lab, some lat/long coords, and some sampling jars,  safety awareness, personl protective equipment  and folks can generate their own data. 

i wonder it if would match up to whats on file, if there is anything on file that is.  whos to say if those are national pollution discharge elimination system (npdes) permitted outfallss.  if they are, there should be a mountain of electronic data at the state level that could potentially be plugged into a nice open source gis database... could learn alot.

Contact Sudhir about Open Source GIS projects

These are all excellent elements to include in the Open Source GIS/Planning project we're organizing - Sudhir said there is a meeting about this next week so contact him at sudhir [at] realinks [dot] us if you are interested

I thought it a good time to resurface this forum - join in

Last May we started discussing off-shore wind and other environmental issues - seems a good time to revisit and update our thoughts - what's on your mind about all this now?

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Most recent development posted by Jeff Buster here

This foum is from May 06 - the most recent development related to offshore wind in NEO was a forum on the topic at CSU featuring Ronn Richard, President, Cleveland Foundation, reported by Jeff Buster on REALNEO here!

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If you are opposed to putting the turbines on the lake, why not jump on the bird hugger band wagon and work that angle.  I bet you could drum up outrage from some Audobon in CLE.  This strategy works out west, fairly well... at least in generating bad press and increasing / unifying the ranks of those opposed. 

Dike 14 is supported by lots of bird huggers.... yet that big ol dike is also supported by organizations which support putting spinning blades known to inflict harm on avian species out on our lake.  Ironic isnt it?

That is not such a big factor for me, personally.     For me turbines on the lake would be a god aweful sin of another feather...and akin to visual pollution.    Dont go obstructing the ONLY unobscured stretch of vista we have in NE Ohio, on the largest piece of public property (the lake is waters of the state) she is our largest expanse of wilderness for a long way in all directions.  You want to build in our WILDERNESS?

wil·der·ness - any desolate tract, as of open sea.

Why torque out our panarama with visual pollution.   The value of our vista is a soft cost that is being swept up under the rug and externalized. IMHO.   How much is it worth to you and every other citizen of Whiskey Island, and Cleveland Ohio to have a uncluttered view of the sun set over our great lake?  

I grew up 1/2 a block from the shore in Euclid near 260th... I grew up to love sunsets on our lake.  I taught my daughter to love them, and I will teach my son one day to love them as well... just as both my mother and fathers parents taught them to love the lake and her sunsets from the beaches at Grovewood Club and Dalwood Drive, north of lake shore blvd and just east of Easterly WWTP.

I dont wont anyone to block my sunsets.

RECOGNIZE, put these things (hundreds of them, local built, out of upcycled steel) on some farm field some place.

PS - I hear wind farms are 50% cheaper install in dirt, and its what GE prefers to do.  They said so at the closed door session on wind in CLE last year pulled together by members of the elusive Sustainable Cleveland and attended by all the fndn regulars.  I have minutes  =-)  shhh.

One if by land and two if by lake

You have a stronger connection to the lake than most. I can relate... I used to live by water. But I think the off shore development would happen pretty much out of sight. Still you are correct that land based is cheaper. I think we will increasingly do both and different people need to focus on each and lots of other things. Big picture is Ronn wants alternative energy and green innovation here and will send lots of money that way...
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Save the birds, but the view has been ruined for a long time

I want windmills -- lots of them -- where ever they will be most cost effecitve and have the least impact on the natural environment (especially birds). I don't think windmills will make our lake front less attractive though. Our lake front is already pretty ugly. There is hardly anything I would call attractive along Cleveland's lake front -- a sewage treatment plant, piles of gravel, a sad rotting, neglected historic building, a waste of space private airport, and a clutter of hundreds of private boats. Once in a while I see a nice sunset or a Great Blue Heron, but I have traveled the world and I have to say Lake Erie circa 2007 is not picturesque. I am sure I would feel differently if I could go back in time 200 years or so, but I live near the lake and I know how it looks and smells. Will windmills blow the stench from the sewage treatment plant near my house farther inland?

The lake front is not the wilderness I am referring to...

The wilderness I speak of below in my post is the open lake... the shoreline, and all its mismanagment and associated poor planning I will leave to Mr Ed Hauser to champion (and a kick ASS job he does, get that man some grant $$$)     The vast and nearly empty (sans the crib) stretch of undeveloped state property (lake erie) extends roughly 20 miles until the US / Canada boundry.   For me, going out, via kayak, sail, power (what ever your fancy) and reaching the point where land disappears... it is priceless.   Again it is in my book, akin to being out of site of development in the remote west, like in a deep forest.  Yet in my kayak, with my daughter sitting in my lap, the point of horizon with land becomes obscured around 4 miles out... an easy paddle.   Obviously the higher one sits, and the higher the objects are placed, the furhter one has to go to get out of site.

Open and undeveloped stretches of space are becoming fewer and fewer, like roadless stretchs of forest they are priceless.    At present I have heard 3-5 miles out for the potential location for wind turbines.  The 5 mile crib is 3 miles out approx, and 5 miles from the pumping station.   The crib is visable, and the windmills would be 3 + times as tall and would provide flashing lights in accordance with aviation hazard lighting regulations a la FAA.   

I want windmills also. Cost effective windmills that can be build for 50% less upon land.   At 5 miles out your in 70 + feet of water usually.  Have you ever been out there and seen the water boiling with a sea of minnows?  It is amazing, unspoiled, and unadulturated....  (just dont analyze what is in the water).   

Interesting perspective from deep

Very interesting to read your waterborne perspectives on this. I've only been on Lake Erie once, on the Goodtime !!, and it didn't go out far enough to give me an experience of the vastness of the lake... just the trashiness of Cleveland - I can see why you would want to get a few miles away from shore.  I've always seen Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River as toxic water to avoid, and most of the shores of our lakes and waterways are in the hands of private owners and government that have shown universal contempt for the public, so I see the debate about what should happen on and around Lake Erie as all bad, right now. I agree Ed Hauser should be funded to help address the disconnect between the public and our public resources, like Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga. As for windmills on Lake Erie, if just the debate about this brings more people to the table who become concerned about the health of our waters, people, other living things and environment, then the public is well served. I would gladly see a wall of wind turbines right off shore if it meant less pollution in our local and global environment and more public awareness and discussion about such issues. So, already I see this debate as very healthy for the region.

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Nuke Tracker...

From the Union Of Concerned Scientists

"Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspectors discovered many of the problems at Arizona's Palo Verde Unit 3 while several others revealed themselves during near-misses. As a direct result of these discoveries, the NRC in August 2007 rated Palo Verde Unit 3 as having the worst safety record among the nation's 104 operating nuclear reactors.

UCS is extremely troubled by the situation at Palo Verde. As bad as the long list of safety problems is, even worse was the company's unacceptable response. When confronted with safety problems, rather than use resources to fix the problems, the company spent millions of dollars trying to persuade the NRC that its mistakes—for example, deliberately draining water from the emergency core cooling system pump piping between 1992 and 2004—weren't so bad."

....Click on the "Show Inherently Safe Reactors" button at the bottom of the map...