Deepwater Wind Hails Federal Announcement Advancing Utility-Scale Offshore Wind in Southern New England
Deepwater Wind praised the announcement today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) advancing the federal approval process for a utility-scale offshore wind project off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. BOEM today released its Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Wind Energy Area where Deepwater Wind plans to construct its Deepwater Wind Energy Center, a 1,000 MW wind farm – the nation’s first regional offshore wind energy project.
Deepwater Wind has proposed selling a large portion of the power generated from this project to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), as well as a transmission system linking Long Island to southern New England. The project site is within the “Area of Mutual Interest” identified by the governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in 2010 as suitable for offshore wind development.
“This is an important step forward in the development of the best site in the Northeast for a utility-scale offshore wind farm,” said William M. Moore, CEO of Deepwater Wind. “We have a real opportunity to supply power from DWEC to several key markets in the region, and we’re hopeful that BOEM will issue a lease for this site in 2012.”
The EA announced by BOEM today covers only site assessment activities and a lease award. If the EA is finalized after a 30-day public comment period, BOEM will be able to award a lease for the area. That lease will permit the collection of data at the project site that is necessary for submitting permit applications to construct a wind farm. Then, those permit applications will be subject to another round of environmental assessment and public comment.
“While there is much work still to be done, today’s announcement allows us to move to the next stage in the leasing and permitting process,” Moore said. “We are very excited about our DWEC project, and pleased to see momentum building at the federal level.”