Deepwater Significantly Expands R.I. Project, Plans Regional Transmission Network

Providence, R.I.-based developer Deepwater Wind says it will build a 1,000 MW offshore wind project off the coast of Rhode Island that will serve multiple states. With as many as 200 wind turbines, Deepwater says its project will be the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the U.S.

The expanded project ostensibly replaces Deepwater's previously announced 385 MW offshore wind farm in Rhode Island Sound.

According to the company, the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC) will be sited in the ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound. Construction is planned to begin in 2014, with the first wind turbines in operation by the end of 2015.

Under the new plan, Deepwater would also build an undersea regional transmission network that would stretch from Massachusetts to New York and connect to multiple states, to which the company could sell its power. The wind farm would cost an estimated $4.5 billion to $5 billion, and the transmission system an additional $500 million to $1 billion.

‘This second generation of offshore wind farms will be larger and farther from shore, and will produce lower priced power, using more advanced technology than the offshore projects announced to date,’ says Deepwater Wind CEO William M. Moore.

Because of the economies of scale gained by building a large facility and also because of the continuing maturity of the offshore wind industry, DWEC's power price will also be lower than earlier offshore wind projects proposed in the U.S.
The company has not yet named a turbine supplier.

The company says that most of the turbines will be located 20 to 25 miles from shore. 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.

Deepwater Wind recently filed an unsolicited nomination to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to lease the ocean site where it plans to locate DWEC.

BOEMRE is currently reviewing Deepwater Wind's lease request in consultation with taskforces organized at the state level in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Deepwater Wind's submission will be subject to federal and state review, and if a lease is awarded, the project will be subject to extensive permitting reviews and public comment opportunities.

Additionally, Deepwater Wind says it will develop a regional offshore transmission network, the New England-Long Island Interconnector (NELI), connecting DWEC to southern New England and eastern Long Island.

NELI 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 a major leap forward for the offshore wind industry," Moore says. ‘DWEC will be the first regional offshore wind energy center in the United States, with a wind farm and a transmission system serving multiple markets.’

SOURCE: Deepwater Wind


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