Offshore Wind Energy in the Great Lakes: Icebreaker Windpower Project
Icebreaker Windpower Project is the first offshore wind energy facility in the Great Lakes. ROV inspections are used for frequent maintenance to ensure the integrity of the operations.
Wind Farms Providing Power Across the Grid
As we learn more about fossil fuels and non-renewable energy, it is apparent that as a global population we need to find alternative methods to power our everyday lives.
The concept of offshore wind energy is a more recent endeavor for the world. Adopted by several European nations, offshore wind farms have the power to provide up to four times the amount of electricity that is generated on the American grid today from all other sources.
Icebreaker Windpower Project in the Great Lakes
Icebreaker Wind is a unique offshore wind energy project – the first offshore wind facility in the Great Lakes, the first freshwater wind farm in North America, and only the second offshore wind project in the entire U.S.
Aside from a small pilot program along the coast of Finland, offshore wind turbines have not been placed in waters that freeze during winter. Moving ice can be problematic when it is pushed by storms and currents, knocking into masts that hold up the turbines. A major test could be coming soon in Lake Erie near Cleveland. If the six turbines in the Icebreaker Windpower project are built, they could usher in a new era of offshore power in freshwater lakes, rather than coastal seas, which has never been done before.
The Ohio Power Siting Board has given preliminary approval to Icebreaker, to be built by the nonprofit Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo). Final approval could come this fall, and the turbines could be operating within three years.
Icebreaker would be the second offshore wind farm in the U.S. The Block Island Wind Farm—13 miles off the Rhode Island coast—began generating electricity in late 2016. The Lake Erie turbines would produce about 21.7 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 7,500 homes.
Researchers says that the Great Lakes offshore wind energy has some advantages over Atlantic coast locations: shallower floor depth, smaller waves, no hurricanes, electrical grids close to shore and competitive wind speed. If Icebreaker succeeds, they predict hundreds of Lake Erie turbines could follow.
Rugged and Robust ROVs for Offshore Wind Energy
As with any underwater structures, frequent maintenance and inspections are important to ensure the integrity of the operations. Underwater installations at sea-based wind and solar installations can be conducted from a boat with the one-man carry ROV system. Operators are able to safely inspect their turbines without risking the safety of divers. If divers are needed in the water for repairs or inspections, the DTG2 or DTX2 offer peace of mind by acting as an extra set of eyes in the water for safety, security and guidance.
Monitoring salvage divers as they perform underwater construction, scouting for sites that won’t negatively effect the surrounding areas and performing inspections of newly installed equipment are all achievable tasks with the use of a Deep Trekker ROV.
Contact Deep Trekker to learn more about the ideal submerged inspection ROV