The region’s building trades members are encouraged to attend a mid-July meeting to support a proposed wind farm project in Lake Erie.
A public hearing will be held on July 19 at Cleveland City Hall by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to receive input from the public on the $126 million Icebreaker Wind project, which will construct a string of six wind turbines about eight to 10 miles off the shore of Lake Erie.
IBEW Local 38 Business Manager Dennis Meaney said it is important for union members to participate in the Icebreaker permitting process.
“The developer has committed to using union trades to build it, therefore we must help them and effort to make sure that the project goes through the entire permitting process and gets built,” he said. “Our strength is in our numbers and we have been turning members out at the public meetings and to show our support of this project. There is a good chance that if the Icebreaker project gets built, that there may be multiple other projects that get built, such as wind turbine manufacturing facilities and warehouses for storage.”
The OPSB’s staff gave their approval of the project on July 3. That approval, however, was just one step in a long process.
According to Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) Vice President of
Operations David Karpinski, they are nearing the midway point of the approval process.
At this point in the process, the OPSB wants public input on the proposed project and during the July 19 meeting, opponents of the project are expected to attend and speak against it.
This makes public support by organized labor crucial for the Icebreaker Wind project.
Union tradesmen and tradeswomen are urged to attend and speak in favor of the project, which, if approved, would quadruple the amount of renewable energy produced in Cuyahoga County. Not only is this project a start to providing clean, renewable energy in the area, but it will also supply jobs to building trades members, mainly the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and a small number of journeymen from other trades will be needed.
Work on the Icebreaker Wind project is expected to begin and be completed in 2021. For more information on the project, visit their website.