Rhode Island Chooses Deepwater Wind to Build Off-Shore Wind Farm

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri announced last week that Deepwater Wind was chosen as the developer to construct a wind energy project off the shores of Rhode Island that could provide 1.3 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year, 15 percent of all electricity used in the state. It is expected that the project will cost more than US $1 billion to construct, with all the capital coming from private investment sources.

“Today marks a major step to bring wind power to Rhode Island and to reach our goal of at least 15 percent of all electricity in the state be renewable energy,” Governor Carcieri said. “Of the many forms of renewable energy alternatives available, wind is the proven leader. Wind power is clean, green power that is not subject to variations and increases in fuel price. Rhode Island is uniquely positioned to lead the nation with the development of this country’s first off shore wind farm.”

The exact location of the wind project will be determined from the results of the Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) permitting process led by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in partnership with URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

The state and Deepwater Wind will now enter a 90-day period to negotiate a formal development agreement. The final agreement will include the total commitment to Rhode Island made by Deepwater Wind, including the establishment of a manufacturing headquarters in the state and the reimbursement of the cost of the SAMP to the state’s Renewable Energy Fund.

In addition, the agreement will outline the preferred developer status for Deepwater Wind in the permitting process. Final approval of the project is contingent on multiple regulatory approvals from both the state and federal governments.

Deepwater Wind was established to develop utility-scale offshore wind projects in the northeastern part of the United States. The company’s major investors are First Wind, a major developer of on-shore wind projects in the United States, DE Shaw & Co., a capital investment firm with deep experience in the energy sector, and Ospraie Management, a leading asset management firm with a focus on alternative energy markets.

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