Plans Submitted for 1,000-Megawatt Offshore Wind Farm

Deepwater Wind has officially submitted plans to develop a 1,000-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Deepwater Wind says its massive project, dubbed the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC), represents the “second generation” of offshore wind farms in the United States. No wind farms have yet been built off American waters. However, those that have been proposed and approved — such as Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound — are much smaller.

The project was among those hailed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a visit to Rhode Island in August. Salazar and other Obama administration officials have worked to draw developers into the nation’s nascent offshore wind industry.

With as many as 200 wind turbines, the project would serve multiple East Coast states and would require a regional transmission system. According to the company, DWEC would be sited in the deep ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound, where it would be barely visible from the shore. 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. Construction is planned to begin in 2014 or 2015, with the first wind turbines in operation by the end of 2016 or 2017.

“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 any of the offshore projects announced to date,” said William M. Moore, Deepwater Wind CEO.

Deepwater Wind is also developing 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.

Deepwater Wind will base its manufacturing and construction operations at Quonset Point in Rhode Island, where the company has more than 100 acres under lease option. Deepwater Wind is also exploring port and other facilities in Massachusetts to complement its Quonset base.

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