Cuyahoga County approves financing for Euclid wind energy project
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CLEVELAND – Work has started in Euclid on what will soon be the largest wind turbine in Northeast Ohio – financed, in part, by a $350,000 loan from Cuyahoga County government.
Lincoln Electric, a leading manufacturer of arc welding products, will use the loan to help pay for assembly of a 2.5-megawatt wind turbine on its property in Euclid. The county loan – requested by County Executive Ed FitzGerald and approved last month by the County Council – represents about 6 percent of the financing of a $5.9 million project.
Lincoln Electric officials have indicated that the new wind turbine will help it grow its tower-related welding business, reduce its carbon footprint and save the company approximately $500,000 annually in energy costs. Lincoln Electric is already a leading provider of welding technology for wind turbines, touching nearly 80 percent of all domestic wind turbines in production today. The project is expected to serve as a training tool for Lincoln Electric and its partner companies in this growing industry.
Company officials hosted a groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon on the project.
County officials say that assembly of the turbine should demonstrate that Northeast Ohio’s business community, which already supplies many wind turbine components, is poised to also become a player in the field of wind turbine assembly and development.
“Wind energy is an emerging industry, and we want to position Cuyahoga County to capture more of it. This project represents a step forward toward that goal,” said Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive.
When finished, the turbine will stand about 443 feet tall when measured to the tip of the blade. This will make it the largest turbine in Northeast Ohio and close to three times as tall as the 147-foot tall turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center in downtown Cleveland.
When operating at full capacity, the turbine’s 2.5 megawatts output is comparable to the power needed for 600 or 700 homes, which is close to the number of households in Bratenhahl.
The Cuyahoga County Council approved the loan last month. The loan, which is forgivable, represents 6 percent of the project costs. The state of Ohio has committed about $1.12 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) State Energy Program toward the turbine. The balance of the cost, about 75 percent, will be covered by Lincoln Electric.