PROVIDENCE – Deepwater Wind is planning to submit a proposal to sell wind energy to the Long Island Power Authority, the Providence-based energy company said Wednesday.
“We plan to submit a response to the Long Island Power Authority’s 280 megawatt renewable energy RFP later this month,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski told Providence Business News in an email.
“This will be the first opportunity to sell power from the site we secured this past summer from the federal government,” said Grybowski. “We envision this as the first phase of what we plan to be a regional energy center serving both southern New England and Long Island.”
Deepwater Wind won the first federal auction for an offshore wind farm in July 2013, a 256-square-mile site in waters off Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Plans are to build the 200-turbine Deepwater Wind Energy Center on that site.
First, however, Deepwater Wind has been inching forward since 2009 to construct its demonstration five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm. A substantial amount of state and federal permitting for the Block Island Wind Farm has been completed, but several more approvals are required.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead federal agency on permitting for the Block Island Wind Farm.
“One of the major approvals, with special conditions, has come in from the National Marine Fisheries Service,” said Michael Elliott, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the Block Island Wind Farm.
“They determined there are no adverse impacts, with certain requirements, like there have to be two marine mammal observers while they’re driving the piles and there are time-of-year restrictions,” said Elliott.
“So far there are no deal breakers on the Block Island project,” said Elliott. “When we issue a permit to place structures in tidal waters, we have to issue it with the special conditions required by the other federal agencies.”
The Corps of Engineers is one-third of a basic triune that has to approve the Block Island Wind Farm, said Elliott. The R.I. Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council also have to OK the project.
Elliott estimated the earliest all approvals could likely be issued would be in May or June.
The CRMC subcommittee formed to review the Deepwater Wind Block Island project held three public hearings in February. The subcommittee is planning is planning to hold a workshop in April to review the information and public input and make a recommendation to the full Coastal Resources Management Council, said CRMC spokeswoman Laura Dwyer. CRMC could accept, reject, send back to the subcommittee or make changes to the recommendation, she said.
Grybowski has previously said the target date to have the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm producing energy is 2015, but that could slip to 2016.
Further down the road, Deepwater Wind will have to go through the approval process for its 200-turbine wind farm, the offshore facility intended to be the energy producer for the Long Island Power Authority project.
“LIPA expects to make decisions on this RFP near the end of 2014,”said Grybowski. “We will discuss our proposal in more detail in the coming weeks.”
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