GE on Monday said it had struck a deal with the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo ) to provide direct-drive wind turbines and maintenance services for the Ohio company’s 20-MW proposed freshwater offshore wind farm in the Great Lakes.

GE will provide five 4-MW “next generation” wind turbines which use a technology recently acquired with from Swedish turbine maker ScanWind. Essentially, the turbine uses advanced loads controls and aeroelastically tailored blade technology.

 “The partnership and project is a significant step towards accelerating the deployment of offshore wind in the Great Lakes,” GE said, adding that it builds on the momentum of a four-year effort by The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force and other partners in Ohio to establish an offshore wind industry on Lake Erie.

The project, which is expected to be completed in late 2012, would be located off the shores of Lake Erie, near Cleveland, Ohio. According to GE and LEEDCo, it would be followed by subsequent projects with a long-term goal of 1,000 MW in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie by 2020.

In addition to collaborating on the initial 20-MW project, GE and LEEDCo said they would create a strategic plan to identify opportunities for cost reduction to make offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes economically viable. GE and LEEDCo will also work jointly on advocacy and public policy issues to increase support for offshore wind energy, and accelerate the growth of America’s offshore wind industry.

Sources: GE, POWERnews