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Lorain sees huge upside of wind

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/02/08 @ 2:53pm

Dennis Flores sees Lorain's future blowing in the wind. The city councilman is introducing a resolution next week that plants a flag in the renewable energy economy for this Rust Belt city aspiring to become a Green City on a Blue Lake.

Aside from launching a Green Team in city council and calling for real CO2 reduction targets, Flores talks at a rapid clip about how Lorain's manufacturing legacy and some of the state's strongest winds could be a huge boon to the city's coffers.

He's not just whistling Dixie. St. George's Renewable Energy, LLC submitted a right of first refusal for 13 submerged land leases within a 2 mile by 3 mile area located offshore to the Port of Lorain in July, completely catching the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (the holder of those leases) off guard, Flores says. ODNR is holding a series of public meetings-St. George's action gave the agency 120 days to respond with an official application process (read more on Flores' blog).

The company is in discussions with Vestas and venture capitalists like Old Dominion Gas, Flores says, about developing a world class distributed generation facility using wind as the primary source of fuel in the production of electrical energy.

While Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko appointed Mike Challender as his sustainability representative, Flores thinks his plans are too closed door and not aggressive enough.

"He doesn't define goals. We want to define goals on energy efficiency and renewable energy. We mention in our resolution that we want a portfolio standard and to reduce our carbon emissions 20% by 2025. But, we also want to tailor it to Lorain being close to wind.

"Our goal is to be able to say to Vestas, we'll buy 490 wind turbines (for the St. George's project), but we want them manufactured in Lorain at the old Ford Plant."

Flores became the self-appointed sustainability champion for Lorain after he drafted a zoning amendment to allow small wind turbines to be erected this summer. Since its passage, the company Turtle Plastics has been approved to build a 100 ft. wind turbine on the property of the former Ford production facility (Engineered Process Systems, a Huron company that sells and installs wind turbines including its own 10 kilowatt turbine, will help them build it).

Flores wants Lorain to get out ahead of St. George's proposal. "We want to get two or three towers up to do 23 month study that will confirm wind strength. True Wind already did an avian study and it included Lorain."

"Step by step, we need to build our green portfolio up. We have the strongest winds in the Ohio right off our shores. Why wouldn't we want to leverage that and build wind turbines here?"

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