photo: Deepwater Wind
Rhode Island's first offshore wind farm, and depending on construction speed perhaps the first in the United States, has more than doubled in proposed size. According to Reuters, the project's developer, Deepwater Wind has said the increased size will allow it deliver electricity at a lower price--even though the project cost has now jumped to $6 billion. The new specs for the project: 200 turbines, at least 18 miles off the Rhode Island coast; 1,000 Megawatts (previously it was 350 MW), with an undersea transmission network stretching from Massachusetts to New York. The transmission network alone adds between $500 million and $1 billion to the price tag.
At that size the Deepwater Wind Energy Center becomes one of the largest offshore wind projects under development anywhere in the world.
No doubt some of the reason why Deepwater increased the size of the project: Under the previous plan, electricity from the project was going to be sold to National Grid for 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. If you haven't checked your electric bill for the exact rate you're paying, that's really high for the mainland United States. Nearby, Cape Wind signed a power purchase agreement with National Grid for 18.7 cents/kWh--still above average for the US, but only barely for the region. Under the new larger proposal, Deepwater says it expects to be able to deliver electricity in the "mid-teens" per kilowatt-hour.
Whatever form it takes, if the US wants to even be in the offshore wind power race, more projects like these need to get underway as both Europe and China continue well in the lead.
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More on Offshore Wind Power:
Rhode Island Offshore Wind Farm Takes Step Forward - And Some Environmentalists Are Upset?
China Beat US in Offshore Wind, Europe Still Trounces Everyone Else in Solar
Never Mind the Atlantic Oil... Offshore Wind Power Can Electrify Half of East Coast