At Keynote Address for Major Wind Conference in Cleveland, Sen. Brown Calls for Federal Investment in Ohio Offshore Wind Projects

Sen. Brown Writes to Energy Secretary Steven Chu Urging Him to Make Ohio an Integral Part of Any Federal Expansion of Offshore Wind Programs

CLEVELAND, OHIO - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today delivered the keynote address at the Freshwater Wind 2010 conference in Cleveland. During his address, Brown announced that he is urging the Obama Administration to develop a comprehensive offshore wind energy policy that utilizes Ohio's resources. In an effort to ensure that Lake Erie is home to the world's first freshwater offshore wind farm, Brown introduced The Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development (POWERED) Act of 2010, legislation aimed at advancing clean energy through the installation of offshore wind turbines in bodies like Lake Erie.

"Ohio is poised to help our nation seize the economic opportunities offered by the 21st-century clean energy economy. Our state leads the nation in the number of clean energy jobs created through the Recovery Act - through job retraining to weatherization to grants and incentives for universities and entrepreneurs," Brown said in his remarks to the Freshwater Wind 2010 conference. "One of President Obama's first trips was to Cardinal Fastener-a business that manufactures heavy-duty bolts for wind turbines-in Bedford Heights, Ohio.  A presidential visit recognized Ohio's capacity to lead the nation in clean energy manufacturing and to become the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy."

Today, Brown urged the Obama administration to strongly consider establishing the country's first demonstration wind project in Ohio. In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Brown wrote: "An offshore wind industry based in Lake Erie would create thousands of jobs and provide millions of households with clean, renewable energy.  A strong public-private partnership, between local and state government, world-class academic and research institutions and leading clean energy companies is already planning to announce its efforts to build the first freshwater wind farm in the world."

"Lake Erie is an ideal site for this project because of its shallow depth and excellent wind resources. Lake Erie offshore wind represents a breakthrough in offshore wind development and will be a signature project not only for Ohio, but for our nation," Brown continued.

Brown has been a leader in federal efforts to increase the use of offshore wind projects in Ohio and across the country. In April, Brown introduced The Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development (POWERED) Act of 2010, which would spur research on potential offshore wind projects, expand incentives for offshore wind development, and require the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the deployment of offshore wind. Brown is also the original cosponsor of S. 3062, legislation which would provide the offshore wind industry with enhanced stability by extending production and investment tax credits for offshore wind until 2020. These provisions are vital because of the long lead times required to permit and construct wind turbines offshore, compared to onshore wind energy. Brown's POWERED Act has been endorsed by The University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio, Case Western Reserve University, The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, The Ohio State University, The Great Lakes Wind Network, and by wind developers like NRG Bluewater Wind.

Offshore wind offers enormous potential for producing domestic sources of clean energy and good-paying jobs in areas located close to large coastal population centers. 

Brown's full letter to Secretary Chu is below.


July 19, 2010

The Honorable Steven Chu
Secretary
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Secretary Chu:

I write today in regard to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent request for information on demonstration projects for offshore wind technology.  While DOE develops a proposal, I strongly urge you to consider the wealth of resources available in Ohio and Lake Erie.  As you move to establish demonstration projects, conduct research on market barriers, and further technological development— I trust that you will find Ohio is poised to lead our nation in the global offshore wind industry.

An offshore wind industry based in Lake Erie would create thousands of jobs and provide millions of households with clean, renewable energy.  A strong public-private partnership, between  local and state government, world-class academic and research institutions and leading clean energy companies is already planning to announce its efforts to build the first freshwater wind farm in the world. Lake Erie is an ideal site for this project because of its shallow depth and excellent wind resources. Lake Erie offshore wind represents a breakthrough in offshore wind development and will be a signature project not only for Ohio, but for our nation.

In addition to the natural resources that Lake Erie has to offer, Ohio is home to strong academic, research, and industry resources for developing the technology and supply chain for offshore wind energy.  Case Western Reserve University, for example, is home to the Great Lakes Energy Institute which is a global hub of wind technology research and engineering expertise.  Ohio has a rich heritage of wind turbine research, beginning with Charles Brush, who in 1888 built the first automated electricity generating wind turbine in the world. Later, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, researchers at the NASA Lewis Research Center (now known as the NASA Glenn Research Center) developed technology for the world’s first multi-megawatt horizontal axis wind turbines.  Furthermore, the strength of the region’s industrial manufacturing base provides a global competitive advantage for the burgeoning domestic wind turbine component supply chain.

To address the technical challenges across the offshore wind industry, I strongly recommend that DOE continue to build a comprehensive offshore wind research and development effort.  I recently introduced S. 3226, the Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development, in order to support the Department’s efforts to develop a national roadmap for offshore wind energy research and development.  I look forward to working with you in spurring this critical energy industry.

Thank you for your leadership at the Department of Energy and for your many visits to Ohio to meet with our business and academic leaders in the clean energy industry.  As the birthplace of modern wind turbine technologies, Ohio has the tremendous potential to develop and build the clean energy technologies of the future.  Our work together supporting the deployment of these technologies is essential to laying the groundwork for our nation’s energy independence and economic prosperity.


Sincerely,

Sherrod Brown
United States Senator

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