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09/26/2008 06:10 AM     print story email story  

Deepwater Wind To Build $1B Rhode Island Offshore Wind Farm

SustainableBusiness.com News

Rhode Island governor Donald L. Carcieri announced that Deepwater Wind has been chosen to construct a wind energy project off the shores of Rhode Island that will provide 1.3 million megawatt hours per year of renewable energy--15% of all electricity used in the state.

It is expected that the project will cost in excess of $1 billion to construct--all from private investment sources, according to a release.

Deepwater Wind was established to develop utility-scale offshore wind projects in the northeastern part of the United States. The company's major investors are FirstWind, a major developer of on-shore wind projects in the United States, D.E. Shaw & Co., a capital investment firm with deep experience in the energy sector, and Ospraie Management, a leading asset management firm with a focus on alternative energy markets.

"This is much more than an energy project. This is about creating a new industry in Rhode Island; an industry that puts Rhode Island at the epicenter of the emerging alternative energy market. Deepwater Wind will help bring new economic activity, jobs and opportunity to Rhode Island," Carcieri said. "From construction through operation, Deepwater Wind projects will provide high-quality, green jobs. Further, Deepwater Wind's jacket foundations are the ideal cost-effective solution for the deeper waters in our region." 

Deepwater Wind has pledged a significant private investment in Rhode Island of approximately $1.5 billion with the construction of a regional manufacturing facility in Quonset, and creating up to 800 direct jobs, with annual wages of $60 million. The Quonset facility will manufacture support structures upon which the turbine and its tower are based and will serve the entire northeast.

"Our vision is to develop multiple utility-scale wind farms in deep water in the northeast. Quonset will be the base of those manufacturing operations," added Brown.

The exact location of the wind project will be determined from the results of the Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) permitting process led by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in partnership with URI's Graduate School of Oceanography.

"Deepwater offers us a compelling and credible vision to help Rhode Island develop one of the country's first off shore wind farms. Beyond accelerating our state's move toward energy independence, Deepwater's plan will also strengthen Rhode Island's economy by creating more than 800 new jobs at Quonset," said Saul Kaplan, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and member of the selection team responsible for making the wind farm award. "We will also partner with Deepwater to attract a wind turbine manufacturer and additional high wage manufacturing jobs to the state. By establishing ourselves as an early leader in off shore wind energy production, Rhode Island gains an important competitive advantage in attracting alternative energy companies to the state and in creating new high wage, green energy jobs across Rhode Island."

The state and Deepwater Wind will now enter a 90-day period to negotiate a formal development agreement. The final agreement will include the total commitment to Rhode Island made by Deepwater Wind, including the establishment of a manufacturing headquarters in the State and the reimbursement of the cost of the SAMP to the Renewable Energy Fund. In addition, the agreement will outline the preferred developer status for Deepwater Wind in the permitting process.

About First Wind

First Wind, based in Newton, Massachusetts, is a leading developer of onshore wind projects in the United States. First Wind's portfolio of wind energy projects includes 5,507 MW of capacity of which 92 MW were operating and 182 MW were under construction. Their projects now in operation include projects done in cooperation with government regulators and the community in environmentally sensitive areas of Hawaii, New York, and Maine. For more information, visit www.firstwind.com.

About D.E. Shaw & Co.

D.E. Shaw, based in New York, New York, is a global investment and technology development firm with more than 1,300 employees; approximately $39 billion in aggregate investment capital; and offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Since its organization in 1988, D.E. Shaw has earned an international reputation for financial innovation, technological leadership and an extraordinarily distinguished staff. D.E. Shaw has a successful history of investing and growing companies in the energy sector and is a national leader in investing in alternative energies.



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