Erie County's NASA site seeks private developer for 2,000 acre wind farm

PERKINS TWP. Winds of change from the new economy may soon blow through NASA Plum Brook Station in E
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

PERKINS TWP.

Winds of change from the new economy may soon blow through NASA Plum Brook Station in Erie County.

The NASA installation, located in Perkins and Oxford townships, is being advertised as a possible site for a wind farm that could cover about 2,000 acres.

Late last month, NASA posted a "request for information" on the Internet, seeking private developers who might be interested in collaborating on a wind farm.

Such a partnership could last for 20 to 25 years.

The private developer would build, own and operate the wind farm, said the request issued by NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. NASA would use some of the wind farm's electrical output.Additional power would go into the grid for regional use.

NASA is seeking responses from developers by Thursday.

"This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness andfeasibility of the requirement,propose alternative approaches, as well as promote competition,"the request states.

NASA isn't seeking bids yet, said Lori Rachul, a spokeswoman for NASA Plum Brook Station.

Rachul said no NASA officials were available for interviews Thursday. "At this point, the details aren't finalized," she said.

The proposed NASA project isn't the only large-scale wind farm in the works in Erie County.

JW Great Lakes Wind has been meeting with residents in Groton Township to discuss a wind farm that would cover a large area in southern Erie County.

The company is owned by a German alternative power company, the Juwi Group.

The Erie County Economic Development Corp., Erie County's main economic development organization, has made the development of a wind energy industry here one of its top priorities.