Image courtesy Deepwater Wind
Deepwater Wind announced it’s bid has provisionally won both offshore wind energy sites up for auction, located in the federal waters off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
A competitive lease auction – the first-ever auction held in the United States for commercial offshore wind development – was held by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for two parcels, totaling more than 164,000 acres, in BOEM’s Wind Energy Area on the Outer Continental Shelf roughly 17 miles south of Rhode Island, between Block Island, Rhode Island, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Deepwater Wind plans to develop the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC), a utility-scale wind farm of up to 200 turbines with a regional transmission system linking Long Island, New York, to southeastern New England.
It will produce enough energy -1000 megawatts- to power approximately 350,000 homes and displace over 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Most of DWEC’s turbines will be located 20 to 25 miles from the nearest landfall –virtually invisible from shore.
“This is an enormous step forward for the industry. This is the best site for offshore wind in the United States, bar none,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “Our Deepwater Wind Energy Center Project will produce clean power and jobs for an entire region. It’s very exciting.”
“We commend Governors Chafee and Patrick and the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Congressional delegations for their shared commitment to advancing offshore wind development and the nation’s energy independence,” Grybowski said.
Deepwater Wind’s winning bid : $3.8 million for the two sites, including the $900,000 deposit to participate in the auction. The remainder to be paid when the official lease is signed for the sites.
Deepwater Wind will also pay the federal government approximately $500,000 annual rent, beginning this year, until a wind farm is operational on the site. Once operational, Deepwater Wind is obligated to pay the federal government an annual royalty fee based on the value of the energy produced.
Because of the economies of scale and the continuing maturity of the American offshore wind industry, DWEC’s power price will be competitive with traditional fossil fuel power and lower than the first generation of offshore wind farms.
Construction could begin as early as 2017, with commercial operations by 2018.