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Dec 102010

Deepwater Wind announced this week that it plans to build a 1,000 Megawatt facility in the deep ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound.

The project, which will contain up to 200 wind turbines that will be barely visible onshore, will be the largest offshore wind farm ever planned for U.S. waters and will be capable of supplying energy to multiple states, according to the developer, Deepwater Wind Energy Center.

Deepwater Wind Energy Center

This type of deep ocean wind farm “will be larger and farther offshore, and will produce lower priced power, using more advance technology than the offshore projects announced to date,” said Deepwater Wind CEO William M. Moore, in a statement. “We expect the offshore wind industry in the United States to follow the European experience, where a more mature industry is building larger projects farther from shore.”

Deepwater expects to lease the site for its project and has filed for a permit with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), which is reviewing the request. If, after federal and state review, the project is greenlighted, it will undergo a public comment process. With approved permitting, developers say the project could be under construction in 2014 and operational by 2015.

Because it will be located farther out at sea, up to 25 miles out and no closer than about 14 miles to any inhabited part of the shoreline, it will be able to take advantage of stronger ocean winds.

The developers’ plans call for the project, dubbed Deepwater Wind Energy Center, to be the nexus of several connected wind farms feeding onto an offshore transmission network — the New England-Long Island Interconnector (NELI). Connecting multiple wind farms is key to making wind power more consistent, smoothing out ebbs and flows, and therefore better serving the grid and obviating the need for power storage solutions.

Deepwater Wind is a renewable energy company based in Providence, R.I., and Hoboken, N.J.. IT has plans to serve the Northeastern U.S. with offshore wind projects locaed 15-20 miles off the shores of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.