First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm May Be in Rhode Island
A Rhode Island wind farm project made a deal this week to sell the power it will produce on what could be the country’s first offshore wind farm.
Deepwater Wind, a privately held company, forged a 20-year power purchase agreement, to sell electricity from up to 8 turbines to National Grid.
The Block Island Wind Farm will be the first phase of the project, three miles off the coast of Block Island, in water that Rhode Island owns. That phase is expected to be operational in 2013. After powering Block Island, electricity produced there will go into the state’s main grid.
The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission still has to approve the deal.
The company also plans to build a larger offshore wind farm of about 100 turbines in federal waters, which will require a separate purchase agreement for its electricity. Together the projects would generate enough electricity to meet 15 percent of the state’s energy needs, at a price of $1.5 billion. Earlier this year Rhode Island set a target to obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015, and offshore wind is expected to create most of that, since the small state has few areas suitable for land-based wind farms.
– Suzanne Bopp