Now that the offshore wind farm permitting process is becoming a little clearer, an increasing number of offshore wind energy projects are appearing on the regulatory horizon. The state of Rhode Island is giving Massachusetts, Texas, and Delaware a run for their money in the race to become the first U.S. state to lay claim to an offshore windfarm in its coastal waters. The state named New Jersey-based Deep Water Wind to build the estimated $1.5 billion project.
While it is beyond astonishing that this race to be the first has yet to be won, alas, it has not.
Not known yet is where the turbines will be erected. The state’s Coastal Resources Management Commission has launched a two-year study to determine what sites would be appropriate for offshore wind farms. Deep Water is talking about erecting the turbines 15 to 20 miles offshore, a distance and depth it says is made possible by the four-legged design (as opposed to monopole) that the company proposes.
"Today marks a major step to bring wind power to Rhode Island and to reach our goal of at least 15 percent of all electricity in the state be renewable energy, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri said in a statement.
But news of the choice drew immediate fire from those opposed to the agreement. R.I. Democratic Party Chairman Bill Lynch who shot back:
“Deep Water Wind has never developed an offshore wind farm or an onshore wind farm to my knowledge,” Mr. Lynch said. “Deep Water Wind does not have a corporate office and submitted a bid based on unproven technology. Yet Governor Carcieri handed Deep Water Wind billions of dollars of development rights and unprecedented access to one of Rhode Island’s most precious resources, its coastal waters.”
The state and Deepwater Wind will now enter a 90-day negotiation period to develop a formal agreement.
Image credit: m.prinke via flickr under a Creative Commons License