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Wind farm planned off coast of Montauk

An offshore wind farm may soon be built 30 miles from Montauk Point, bringing renewable energy to stabilize electricity prices and improving air quality on Long Island.

The Deepwater Wind Energy Center, situated between Long Island and New England, would be the nation’s first 200-turbine, 9,000-megawatt offshore regional energy center. Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island-based project developer, estimates that the energy center will produce enough electricity to power 350,000 homes – about 10 percent of Long Island’s electricity needs – and displace over 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The wind project is located in the federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the Outer Continental Shelf, about 30 miles east of Montauk and 15 miles southeast of Martha’s Vineyard. The company says the turbines won’t be visible from land.

The project also would connect to the Long Island Power Authority’s electric grid at a substation in Shoreham through a 98-mile, 600-megawatt undersea transmission network. The cable line would stretch from Massachusetts to New York, through the Long Island Sound, south of Block Island and between Connecticut and the North Fork, to deliver clean, renewable energy to multiple markets, according to Deepwater Wind.

The New England-Long Island Interconnector “will also connect the wind farm and Long Island to southeastern New England, allowing Long Island to not only receive wind energy but also to import conventional energy from New England, where there’s a surplus of new gas-fired generation, during low-wind periods.”

All told, the project could cost at least $5 billion. Work could begin in the Rhode Island Sound as early as 2014, with the first phase of the project going online in 2017.

The company says the project will also create jobs through the construction, operations and maintenance phases of the wind farm and transmission system.

The energy center is the first of “second generation” offshore wind projects that are larger, capture stronger winds in deeper, 150 feet-waters farther from shore, and use an advanced submarine cable transmission network. Offshore turbines are spaced one mile apart to accommodate boaters and fisherman.

Deepwater Wind first submitted an application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement in December 2010.

Deepwater Wind is also the developer behind the Block Island Wind Farm, a 30-megawatt wind project off of Block Island, which will be the first offshore wind farm.