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Wind Farm Backers Eyeing Non-Governmental Funding Sources

Despite losing out on federal funding last month, a nonprofit group trying to build a wind farm on Lake Erie says it's now developing another plan to achieve its goal. Joanna Richards of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, LEEDCo for short, says it’s reworking aspects of its wind farm proposal after failing to finish in the top three slots of the U.S. Energy Department’s competition. 

If it had, it would have been among three offshore wind projects to get a $47 million check from the federal government to start building. Now, it’s rethinking its strategy.

"We’re working to make the business case for the project." 

That’s Eric Ritter, a LEEDCo spokesman. He was taking part in an event with green and labor groups in Edgewater Park.

Ritter says in its financial planning, LEEDCo factored in no public incentives. So even with the state deciding this week to freeze green energy requirements for utilities, he says the project is still viable.

"We’ve got full funding to complete the engineering design, we’ve submitted permit applications, we’ve got commitments to sell all of our power, we have a number of banks that are interested in financing the project. These are all really strong fundamentals."

Ritter says the nonprofit has been too focused on winning federal funding for the last two years to fully explore private financing at the same time. And it shaped its previous proposal around federal requirements.

Now, LEEDCo is looking at how it can cut costs and make the wind farm more attractive to private investors. 

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