As winner of the first-ever auction held in the United States for commercial offshore wind development, Deepwater Wind will build a wind farm in federal waters off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Deepwater Wind’s winning bid of $3.8 million for two sites came in the eleventh round of the competition held by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Deepwater Wind previously paid a $900,000 deposit to participate in the auction, with the remainder of the bid amount to be paid in the coming months when the official lease is signed for the sites. In addition, Deepwater Wind will pay the federal government annual rent payments of about $500,000 beginning this year, until a wind farm is operational on the site. Once the wind farm is operational, Deepwater Wind is obligated to pay the federal government an annual royalty fee based on the value of the energy produced.
Deepwater plans to develop a utility-scale wind farm of up to 200 turbines with a regional transmission system linking Long Island, NY, to southeastern New England. The two parcels, totaling more than 164,000 acres, are located roughly 17 miles south of Rhode Island, between Block Island, RI, and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Deep Water Energy Center is the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the US, located in deeper ocean waters and farther from shore than any other project. Most of Deepwater’s turbines will be located 20 to 25 miles from the nearest landfall – virtually invisible from shore. No turbine will be located any closer than roughly 13 miles from land.
Construction of the 1 GW wind farm could begin as early as 2017, with commercial operations by 2018.
Deepwater Wind is also actively developing the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, about three miles off the coast of Block Island, RI. The permits for this demonstration-scale wind farm are currently under review by state and federal agencies. Construction activities are expected to start in 2013, with the wind farm in service by 2015. That project remains on target to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
The BOEM will hold its second competitive auction for offshore wind on Sept. 4, which will auction about 112,800 acres off the coast of Virginia.
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