Deepwater Wind working to build first U.S. offshore wind farm

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Reuters is reporting that Deepwater Wind is working to build the first U.S. offshore wind farm off Rhode Island.

Deepwater’s chief executive spoke to Reuters. The American wind power developer plans to start construction of the $250 million, 30-megawatt (MW) Block Island project by early 2014. This reportedly comes ahead of a farm proposed by Cape Wind.

Reuters reports that the project will be powered by five Siemens 6-MW turbines. It will generate enough electricity for about 10,000 homes in Rhode Island. The news agency also reports that an American unit of UK power company National Grid PLC will buy power from the Block Island wind farm for its Rhode Island customers.

Deepwater is also reportedly planning other projects off the Atlantic Coast, with three 1,000-MW projects currently in the works. Each is apparently capable of powering about 350,000 homes.

The news agency says that Deepwater gained advantage over other offshore wind developers after Rhode Island picked the in-state Providence-based company as its preferred developer.

Meanwhile, another privately held New England power company (Energy Management Inc) hopes its project in Massachusetts will be the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. But Deepwater’s CEO tells Reuters that the company expects its small wind farm, about three miles southeast of Block Island, will be a stepping stone to bigger projects.

“With Block Island we are gaining real-time information on what it will cost to build the bigger project. That is a huge competitive advantage as we look to transition to the 1,000-MW (Deepwater Wind Energy Center) we are hoping to build in federal waters,” Moore said to Reuters.

The company reportedly hopes to get the federal lease for the project by the first quarter of 2013.

Reuters says the larger Deepwater project is expected to cost over $4 billion. It will consist of 150 to 200 turbines connected via cables to both New England and New York.

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