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01/09/2009 10:42 AM     print story email story  

Construction of R.I. Offshore Wind Farm to Begin in 2010 News

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri yesterday released details about the construction timeline for the state's proposed offshore wind farm.

The wind farm will be built in two phases beginning in 2010. The first phase will include 20 megawatts (MW) worth of wind turbines in state waters. These are expected to go online by 2012.

The second, much-larger phase calls for additional turbines to be installed in federal waters over a three year period, following federal approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service.

Together, turbines installed in the two phases would provide a yearly supply of roughly 1.3 million megawatt hours of electricity--enough to meet 15% of the state's needs. The project is expected to cost approximately $1.5 billion.

Deepwater Wind won the development contract in September 2008, after agreeing pledging to build a regional manufacturing facility in Quonset, and create up to 800 direct jobs, with annual wages of $60 million.

Deepwater'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.

It's unclear whether the Rhode Island project or the Massachusetts Cape Wind project will claim the title of "first" offshore wind farm in the U.S. Cape Wind received approval in December from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

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