Deepwater Wind has officially submitted its plan to develop a utility-scale offshore wind farm off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The bid comes in response to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement's (BOEMRE) call for information and nominations for offshore wind energy projects in the federal ocean waters off southern New England.
As planned, Deepwater Wind's project – the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC) – will have a capacity of approximately 1 GW and will serve as a regional offshore wind energy center serving multiple states on the East Coast.
DWEC will be sited in the deep ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound, where it will be barely visible from the shore, Deepwater Wind explains. Construction is expected to begin in 2014 or 2015, and the first wind turbines are planned to enter operation by the end of 2016 or 2017.
According to Deepwater Wind, DWEC is the largest offshore wind farm ever
planned in the U.S., utilizing as many as 200 wind turbines.
The company previously filed an unsolicited nomination to BOEMRE to lease the ocean site where it plans to locate DWEC. Since then, Deepwater Wind, after consultations with area fishing groups and other stakeholders, has refined the ocean lease blocks it nominated in order to accommodate different project designs.
At this early stage of project development, Deepwater Wind says it still needs to consult with key stakeholders, such as commercial fishers, before final project siting can be determined. Deepwater Wind's lease block nomination creates this flexibility by including enough area for different project configurations, the company adds.
Deepwater Wind is also developing a regional offshore transmission network, called the New England-Long Island Interconnector, which will connect DWEC to southern New England and eastern Long Island. This network will allow the wind farm to send power to multiple states in the region. Deepwater Wind plans to market power from DWEC to several states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut.
"The Deepwater Wind Energy Center is poised to be the first regional offshore wind energy center in the United States with a wind farm and a transmission system serving multiple markets," says William M. Moore, Deepwater Wind's CEO.
Most of the turbines will be located 20 to 25 miles offshore, Deepwater Wind says, and no turbine will be located any closer than 13.8 miles from inhabited land, with only a few turbines located at that distance. At these distances, the wind farm will be barely visible from the shore, and the project site can take advantage of the stronger winds found in the open ocean.