Deepwater Wind files plan to develop utility-scale offshore wind farm off Rhode Island, Massachusetts

Deepwater Wind, which is developing a regional offshore transmission network, said Oct. 7 that it has submitted its plan to develop a utility-scale offshore wind farm off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

This was in response to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement’s call for information and nominations for offshore wind energy projects in the federal ocean waters off southern New England, the company said.

The Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC), which will include up to 200 wind turbines and have a capacity of about 1,000 MW, will be the first of the “second generation” of offshore wind farms in the country, the company said.

“Second generation utility-scale wind farms like DWEC can significantly reduce our need to burn fossil fuels, improve local air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – problems that are especially acute in the densely populated Northeast,” Deepwater Wind CEO William Moore said in the statement.

The DWEC will be sited in southern Rhode Island Sound and construction is planned to begin in 2014 or 2015, with the first turbines in operation by the end of 2016 or 2017. Most of the turbines will be located 20 miles to 25 miles from shore and no turbine will be located any closer than 13.8 miles from inhabited land.

Deepwater Wind also said it previously filed an unsolicited nomination to BOEMRE to lease the ocean site where it plans to locate the DWEC, and since then, has refined the ocean lease blocks it has nominated in order to accommodate multiple different project designs. At this early stage of project development, Deepwater Wind said additional input from stakeholders, including commercial fishers, should be considered before final project siting is determined.

With regards to transmission, Deepwater Wind said the New England-Long Island Interconnector, or NELI, will connect DWEC to southern New England and eastern Long Island, N.Y. The company said it plans to market power from DWEC to several states, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts.

Energy Management’s Cape Wind Associates has proposed a project off the Massachusetts coast. After years in the permitting process, Cape Wind received the nation’s first lease for commercial wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf last year.

In New York, the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative, which is made up of Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) subsidiary Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, the Long Island Power Authority and the New York Power Authority, has filed a preliminary lease application with BOEMRE for development rights on the OCS off of New York, about 13 miles off the south shore of Long Island.

NYPA said Sept. 27 that the collaborative continues to pursue that effort, but the NYPA board of trustees have voted to end the competitive solicitation process for another effort, the proposed Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, or GLOW, without awarding a contract for project development.

NYPA said it received five responses to the GLOW request for proposals from Apex Offshore Wind, Great Winds, NRG Energy’s (NYSE:NRG) NRG Bluewater Wind Great Lakes, Pattern Renewables Development Company and RES Americas Developments. The evaluation indicated the project was technically feasible, but the generating output of the proposed 120-MW to 500-MW project would have cost two to four times more than land-based wind.

NYPA also said that the difference between the GLOW and LI-NYC projects are mainly the participation of multiple utilities involved in the evaluation and that the LI-NYC project is located near a dense population area in a high-priced energy market.

Deepwater Wind, which like Cape Wind has a contract with National Grid plc subsidiary National Grid USA to sell power from its project, said BOEMRE will review its lease request in consultation with taskforces organized at the state level in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.