Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rhode Island's Offshore Wind Farm: Deepwater Wind

Rhode Island 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. 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.

Rhode Island has a goal of providing at least 15 percent of all electricity in the state by using renewable energy. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Source: Office of the Governor, Amy Kempe, 401-222-8290

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