News

Groundbreaking Set for Pearl Wind Project, a First for Cleveland

Cleveland, OH-A groundbreaking ceremony is set for 10 a.m. May 15 to install a 140-foot-high wind turbine at Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking, which will become the first business in Cleveland to capture the wind to generate electricity.

The wind turbine, which will sit atop a 140-foot tower, will be installed on a 4.7 acre auto recycling yard at Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking, a fourth generation family-owned business at 5000 Pearl Rd., along Interstate 480. Teaming up on the $295,000 wind project are Jon Kaplan, vice president of Pearl Road and sustainability advocate Stefanie Spear, the project manager and executive director of EcoWatch Ohio.

"Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking is an early adopter and leader in our region for on-site renewable energy generation," Spear said. "This wind turbine project will help to generate other wind projects throughout the region by showing businesses the advantages and viability of investing in wind energy. The Pearl wind project sends a resounding message for the future-we can reduce Ohio's coal-based energy production through the use of non-polluting, renewable energy."

The Vestas V-20 remanufactured wind turbine, purchased from Halus Power Systems of Hayward, California, will generate nearly 100 percent of Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking's electricity needs and will result in a net annual reduction of more than 100,000 kWh of electricity demand. This project will also help lower Northeast Ohio's carbon footprint by reducing carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to global warming and climate change. With an estimated pay back of 6.3 years, the project represents a long-term business decision that is expected to help insure economic viability for Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking.

"This project will reduce demand for carbon-based energy production, increase regional renewable energy generation and create an economic model that proves the investment in wind energy makes good business sense," Kaplan said.

Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking was approved for a grant from the Advanced Energy Fund Program through the Ohio Department of Development's Ohio Energy Office. The wind turbine is scheduled to begin operating in July.

"This project is especially important because it will be seen by thousands of motorists daily on I-480. The turbine will serve as a vivid reminder that wind energy is playing an important role in the economic revitalization of the Cleveland area, while also indicating that wind energy can be viable for individual businesses or institutions to pursue at their own sites," said Richard Stuebi, Cleveland Foundation's BP Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement.

The Pearl Wind Project has been the catalyst for Cleveland City Council, City Planning Commission and Office of Sustainability, with the help of Spear, to write wind turbine legislation. "Upon the adoption of Chapter 354A - ‘Wind Energy Facilities' the city of Cleveland will establish predictable guidelines for the installation of wind turbines in our municipality," said Councilman Matt Zone, the primary sponsor of the legislation. "We want to be a leader in our region in renewable energy sources and make it easier for those who would like to erect wind turbines."

"This City has a great need for renewable energy. I am pleased that the Old Brooklyn community will be the home of this cutting edge project," said Ward 16 Councilman Kevin Kelley.

The project has contracted with Northeast Ohio businesses to work on this wind turbine project. Engineering plans were designed by Cleveland's Alber & Rice, Inc. Great Lakes Construction in Hinckley has been hired to do the foundation and excavating. Donald L. Geitz Architect and Associates in Medina has played a key role in the planning for this project. Affiliated Metals in Cleveland has been hired to fabricate a 60-foot tower extension and foundation rings. Financing for the project was provided by National City, now a part of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

"Our commitment to supporting Northeast Ohio businesses plays an important role in the creation of Ohio's green economy," Spear said.

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Jon Kaplan - As a fourth generation Cleveland business establishment, Pearl Road Auto Parts is pursuing the installation of a small-scale wind turbine and associated commercialization opportunities of this system to many small businesses and farms throughout Ohio and the U.S. This 21st Century vision belongs to Jon, one of the owners of Pearl Road Auto Parts. In the planning stages for many years, Jon's perseverance has held this vision and his steadfastness will see it through to its fruition. Pearl Road Auto Parts has been implementing innovative and sustainable business practices for more than 75 years. This business has played a major role locally in solid waste reduction and recycling. In addition, Jon has initiated implementing green building design elements in structures, discarded fuel recycling and reduced off-site discharges at Pearl Road. For more information, visit www.pearlroadautoparts.com.

Stefanie Spear is founder and executive director of EcoWatch Ohio, publishers of the bimonthly newspaper EcoWatch Journal. Spear has been actively working on environmental issues for more than 20 years. More recently, Spear's work has focused on ways to expedite the renewable energy industry in Northeast Ohio. Spear will create a model from the Pearl Wind Project that will help other businesses streamline the process of investing in renewable energy technologies and implement energy efficiency. She is working with Cleveland city council members and the planning commission on wind turbine zoning regulations to help expedite wind energy projects in Cleveland.

For more information, visit www.ecowatchohio.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2009

Contact Information: Stefanie Spear, spear@earthwatchohio.org, 216-387-1609