A second wind farm proposed in waters off Rhode Island cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday when the public utility on Long Island approved a long-term contract to buy power from developer Deepwater Wind.
The board of trustees of the Long Island Power Authority approved an agreement to purchase energy from the 90-megawatt project that would be triple the size of the demonstration wind farm off Block Island that Providence-based Deepwater completed last fall.
The five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm is the first offshore wind farm in the United States. The $740-million array of up to 15 turbines that would be built for LIPA in federal waters in Rhode Island Sound is poised now to be the second, with a projected completion date of 2022.
Securing a power purchase agreement is a crucial step for offshore wind developers, which use the deals to demonstrate future revenues in their search for financing. Deepwater was only able to move forward with the Block Island project after signing a pact with utility National Grid and having it approved by Rhode Island regulators.
What’s being called the South Fork Wind Farm would be the first phase of development in the 256-square-mile area between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard that Deepwater is leasing from the federal government. The company envisions up to 200 turbines in the area.
The vote on the contract just took place at LIPA’s offices in Uniondale, N.Y. More details on the agreement are to come.
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