Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Second wind farm off Rhode Island moving closer to reality


        Alex Kuffner reports for
The Providence Journal:
A second wind farm proposed in waters off Rhode Island cleared a major hurdle in January when the public utility on Long Island approved a long-term contract to buy power from developer Deepwater Wind.
The board of trustees of the Long Island Power Authority unanimously approved a 20-year agreement to purchase energy from the 90-megawatt South Fork Wind Farm, which would be triple the size of the demonstration project off Block Island that Providence-based Deepwater completed last fall.
Deepwater Wind is among three companies seeking to develop large-scale wind turbine farms in leased federal waters about 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard. The company announced a downtown New Bedford office last September.
The company's Massachusetts vice president is Matthew Morrissey, a former economic development director for New Bedford and the first director of the city's Wind Energy Center, formed in 2013.
The five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm is the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
A proposed $740-million array of up to 15 turbines that would be built for LIPA in Rhode Island Sound is poised now to be the second, with a projected completion date of 2022.
The deal comes at an uncertain time for offshore wind. Although President Donald Trump has pledged support for an all-of-the-above energy strategy, he has also disparaged the aesthetics of wind turbines and there is concern about the future of a federal investment tax credit that is important to the industry.
Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said he is confident that the project will qualify for the tax credit and move forward.
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