Ed Oliveros sees a day when Lake Erie will host a wind farm, with offshore turbines spinning a gentle breeze into energy we use in our homes.
But those turbines will do more than run your refrigerator: They will power a major economic turnaround for northeast Ohio.
It's About Jobs
"This is more about job creation than it is about generating electricity," said Oliveros, who serves on the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force. "We have the potential to create a whole new industry in northeast Ohio."
The task force, formed in 2006 and chaired by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, believes the region has its foot in the door to become a nationwide leader in wind turbine development and production.
"Our vision has been to develop this region as the next frontier of the emerging multi-billion dollar offshore wind energy industry," Mason said. "We believe our region possesses the resources to capitalize on this potential of creating good-paying jobs."
The Future is Now
Oliveros, a former recycling coordinator for Strongsville who now serves on economic development committees here and in Lakewood, said he doesn't want to sound like "one of those environmental whackos," but is convinced wind will soon generate part of the nation's electricity.
"It will never replace coal and natural gas," he said. "But it will supplement the power."
The task force's focus is on offshore wind, but also researches other advanced energy systems like solar power and bio-fuels, as well as energy efficiency technologies such as LED lighting and fuel cells.
Oliveros, a retired business owner who has become a local expert on energy and a passionate proponent of sustainability, said critics of wind power need to realize that government subsidy of turbine projects is far less than for oil and gas.
"There's so much misinformation out there," he said. "We have the resource in the lake. Now we can have this high-tech industry right in our back yard."