Offshore auction signals start of wind bonanza
Wind developers have accepted invitations to the government’s New England offshore wind energy party.
There are currently no offshore wind farms in U.S. waters, but the Obama administration intends to change that. On Wednesday, the government auctioned off the right to construct turbines in nearly 165,000 acres of federal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island — the first of many offshore auctions the Interior Department has planned.
Hedge fund-backed Deepwater Wind LLC beat out two other bidders at the auction, agreeing to pay $3.8 million for the development rights. The Providence, R.I.-based company said it could spend as much as $6 billion building up to 200 wind turbines in the area plus transmission lines, with construction possibly beginning in 2017 and power production in 2018.
“We’re hoping that this year and next year we can start putting the power purchase agreements together,” [Deepwater CEO Jeff] Grybowski said. The project will likely be built in phases with 200 megawatts to 400 megawatts of generating capacity, he said. …
Deepwater hasn’t selected a wind turbine vendor and plans to use “at least 6-megawatt turbines, and possibly larger,” Grybowski said.
The Interior Department’s next offshore auction will be on Sept. 4, for nearly 113,000 acres off the coast of Virginia. On the auction block later this year and next: areas off the coasts of Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.