A Free-Market Energy Blog

Great Lakes ‘Icebreaker’ Wind Project: Bury the Dead

By Sherri Lange -- April 26, 2024

Ed. Note: The Great Lakes “Icebreaker” project, with $13 million of DOE/taxpayer money wasted, is a boondoggle waiting to end. Yet the Chicago Tribune tries to gin up hope for an expanded project to prop up the Net Zero narrative. Sherri Lange of North American Platform Against Wind Power and Great Lakes Wind Truth responds in her letter-to-the-editor below.

Dear Editor

I read the piece by Nora Schoenberg, Illinois may be up to bat next to build first Great Lakes wind farm after Cleveland drops project (Chicago Tribune), with interest.

We respectfully point out that the Icebreaker failed for numerous reasons, not all financial, not all regulatory.

The mass outpouring of objections, literally from the entire globe, it is certain had some impact on the OPSB (Ohio Power Siting Board), and in 2014, then Chair Todd Snitchler agreed with many objectors, showed that the bench line for safe harbor for the project had not been achieved. There was a laundry list of “to do’s” that included: errors, omissions, contradictions, and minimal analyses. More in-depth study of bird and bat populations, mortality and pre and post construction studies of various kinds were needed, impacts of ice throw and impacts to boating communities, were part of his and our objections. These were presented by leading objectors from both sides of the border.

These objections remain in situ. No reasonable proposal to protect wildlife has ever been proposed by the Developer, who morphed from LEEDCo, to Icebreaker. In essence, the over-riding objection of contaminating 20% of the world’s remaining fresh water reserves still is place, and will be forever. Each wind turbine contains lubrication and oil of some 800 gallons, which requires replenishment and cleaning. Knowledge of the environmental impacts grows by the hour, and offshore wind generation generally is being regarded through financial losses lenses more carefully.

We would ask regulators and policy makers in Illinois to examine the exorbitant cost of offshore, the failures at various projects internationally, the damage to oceans and the quintessential harm to economies, local and more broadly, as the sweep of eco virtue signalling is clearly in a death spiral.

Polluting the Great Lakes is not a good idea, and only breeds grief in the making; we fully imagine no State or province can manage the obstacles, because they are truly GINORMOUS. And impractical. And requiring magic glasses. It’s time to allow the Ontario sensible moratorium, and the Icebreaker meltdown, to be the gold standard.

Chicago may wish for a larger project, not a demonstration project, but the grim realities will match the egotistical idea.

Let it go.

P.S. Toronto Wind Action achieved the first offshore moratorium for the Great Lakes with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, matched finally by four other moratoria including the offshore Provincial moratorium, which persists to this day. This was achieved, by convincing legislators to abide by an ‘abundance of caution.’ The Icebreaker did not survive the scrutiny and obstacles of literally tens of thousands, and in the end, did not end with a bang, but a whimper.

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