A New York utility plans to buy 90 megawatts from the offshore wind farm of up to 1,000 megawatts that Providence-based Deepwater Wind is planning to build in Rhode Island Sound.
The Long Island Power Authority’s board of directors at its meeting next Wednesday is expected to approve an agreement to purchase the power output of 15 wind turbines from the project, the utility’s chief executive officer, Thomas Falcone, told The Associated Press.
The turbines would be installed as part of the first phase of the Deepwater ONE project, the largest offshore wind farm proposed in the United States, which could have as many as 200 wind turbines when it’s completed.
The U.S. lags behind Europe and others in development of offshore wind energy. Many wind farms in Europe are already producing hundreds of megawatts of power. The U.S. has seen other proposals for big offshore wind farms, but so far the only one under construction is Deepwater Wind’s 30-megawatt demonstration project off Block Island, Rhode Island that will be the first offshore wind farm in the nation.
The pact between LIPA and Deepwater Wind would mark the first time a New York utility has agreed to buy power from an offshore wind farm.
“This is the first in New York, it’s the largest to date, but we’re looking at this and seeing a tremendous offshore wind resource that will be developed and it’s not the last,” Falcone said in an interview with the AP on Wednesday. “I think this is a very big step … for New York, but also for the United States.”
Exact financial terms between LIPA and Deepwater Wind still need to be negotiated, Falcone said, but he expressed optimism an agreement could be reached by early 2017.
Deepwater Wind won a federal auction in 2013 to lease the waters in Rhode Island Sound and has already conducted marine surveys of the project site. Falcone said he expected construction could be expedited and power could be reaching Long Island customers by the end of 2022.
“Offshore wind will be a huge industry in the U.S., supplying clean, cost-effective power to coastal states,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement. “Our proposal to Long Island is a huge step forward and a validation of our long-term plans. This industry is really about to take off.”
The turbines would be placed about 30 miles offshore, putting them over the horizon and out of view of land. LIPA would purchase enough energy to power approximately 50,000 homes in the Hamptons.
Deepwater’s proposal also includes plans to build two new battery energy storage facilities. The facilities will consist of lithium-ion battery technology designed and installed by General Electric; they will be used when LIPA is facing peak demand for electricity.
“Not only will the project reduce air pollution emissions on Long Island, but it’ll also defer the need to build costly new power plants and transmission systems on the South Fork,” Grybowski said when announcing the proposal last year.
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