Offshore wind in Rhode Island

While New York renews tentative exploration of the potential of offshore wind, the governor of Rhode Island announced last week the company selected to develop Rhode Island’s first offshore wind project:

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced that Deepwater Wind was chosen as the successful developer 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 percent 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. A team of experts assembled by Governor Carcieri spent several months evaluating the detailed proposals submitted by seven development groups.

Offshore wind has some advantages to onshore projects. The wind is generally less variable, can blow all day, and is closer to load centers (the big coastal cities that need the juice). As the Rhode Island governor’s announcement suggests, however, offshore projects currently can be two or more times more expensive than land-based projects to put into production.

The governor’s full press release is here.

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