From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The first wind turbine development on the Great Lakes could be built within three years or so, experts on offshore wind power said during a conference Wednesday in Milwaukee.

The first project is expected to consist of three to five turbines just off the shore of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

The project is being pushed by the Cuyahoga County government as an economic development strategy to help boost the development of a wind-power manufacturing industry in a state that’s been hit hard by cutbacks in the auto industry, said Steve Dever of the Ohio Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force.

During the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative meeting at We Energies, experts on offshore wind in Wisconsin said they expect development to start slowly over the next few years. But the industry could grow rapidly from there, the experts said.

“In 2010-2013 you’ll see pilot projects get started. Then I think we’ll see incredible growth – really, really rapid growth,” said Tom Stanton of the Michigan Public Service Commission. . . .

Experts believe wind speeds are much faster over large bodies of water than over land, with parts of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior having stronger winds than Iowa and Minnesota, two of the leading states in generation of wind power.

Wisconsin is looking into Great Lakes wind power as one option for the state to generate more renewable energy that would help reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, said Deborah Erwin of the state Public Service Commission.