At ‘IceBreaker’ Open House, Hundreds Express Interest in Participating in Supply Chain for LEEDCo’s Lake Erie Offshore Wind Project

Nearly 300 representatives of small, minority, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses, as well as government, nonprofits, unions and larger companies, attended a December 8 event in Cleveland to express interest in being part of the supply chain for the Great Lakes’ first freshwater wind energy project, known as “Icebreaker.” 

LEEDCo – the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation – a regional nonprofit, is spearheading the construction and installation of a 20.7 megawatt (MW) demonstration project in Lake Erie. Construction of the IceBreaker project, set to begin in spring 2018, calls for six wind turbines to be built in Lake Erie, eight to 10 miles from the Cleveland Harbor. With this initial project, LEEDCo and its partners aim to make Ohio a cornerstone of the American offshore wind industry while re-energizing Northeast Ohio’s economy.

“Emerald Cities Cleveland will bring an emphasis on equity and inclusion to the LEEDCo project by focusing on use of local businesses as vendors within the supply chain,” noted EC Cleveland Director SeMia Bray. “A key project goal is to build up access to local supply chain products and services, so the project can source materials and parts close to home,” she added.

Specifically, Emerald Cities Cleveland will provide:

  • Technical assistance to support the successful design and implementation of economic inclusion strategies that connect small and minority businesses to the project’s supply chain opportunities;
  • Outreach, training and support for minority, women and veteran contractors; and
  • Monitoring, reporting and compliance on labor and supplier/contractor diversity.

“As a nonprofit public-private partnership, LEEDCo represents Northeast Ohio's best interest in the development of the Great Lakes' offshore wind industry,” Bray said. “Once the LEEDCo project has shown its potential to succeed, developer Fred.Olsen Renewables USA and others will be able to build wind turbines at utility scale on Lake Erie, creating a viable renewable energy option in the region.” 

Potential project suppliers represented at the Icebreaker event included engineering and construction; marine services; electrical contracting, services and materials; switchgear and substation design, construction and/or components; and lodging. In addition, the project has the potential to create local and regional business opportunities and jobs in fields as diverse as transportation, fencing, food service and security.

LEEDCo was created by agreement in August 2009 among key members of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force (GLEDTF):  the Cleveland Foundation, NorTech, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga, Lorain Lake and Ashtabula Counties in Ohio; Erie County, Penn., joined the agreement in 2015. LEEDCo received a three-year, $40 million grant towards the project’s $120 million cost from the U.S. Department of Energy, the rest from private investors.

LEEDCo expects to hand over ownership and management of the project to the project to Fred.Olsen/Renewables USA, a Cleveland-based subsidiary of a Norwegian wind developer, which will provide additional equity and secure private financing.

Those interested in being considered to provide supply chain goods and services for the project are encouraged to register their business in a supplier directory, which will be included in the bid documents scheduled for release in first quarter of 2017. A copy of the Open House presentation is available here.


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