CLEVELAND, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today $5 million in new funding for Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), the non-profit corporation leading the effort for the first freshwater offshore wind project in the nation. Through a one-year cooperative agreement, the DOE has committed $4 million to support the advancement of the offshore wind energy project known as "Icebreaker", which consists of five to nine wind turbines seven miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie. LEEDCo's private partners committed an additional $1 million in cost share as part of the agreement. "Icebreaker" is one of only seven offshore wind energy projects that DOE awarded funding today and the only one in the Great Lakes. The selected demonstration projects will help address key challenges associated with installing utility-scale offshore wind turbines, connecting offshore turbines to the power grid, and navigating new permitting and approval processes. The DOE is making available up to $180 million over the next five years to help accelerate the deployment of breakthrough wind power technologies. "Icebreaker" could potentially receive an additional $46.7 million in federal funding. " The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources, and it is important for us to develop technologies that will allow us to utilize those resources in ways that are economically viable," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "Today's announcement of awards to the first offshore wind projects in the U.S. paves the way to a cleaner, more sustainable and more diverse domestic energy portfolio that develops every source of American energy." "The DOE funding for 'Icebreaker' is a testament and vote of confidence for LEEDCo's world-class team members and partners," said LEEDCo President Dr. Lorry Wagner. "After a highly-competitive evaluation process, I am excited and proud to say that 'Icebreaker' was selected for its innovation and expertise in wind energy development, paving the way for future financial support from the Department of Energy and private investors."