Deepwater Wind to develop ‘floating’ West Coast wind farm
DEEPWATER WIND LLC, the Providence company that is developing the Block Island Wind Farm and Deepwater One, announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Seattle-based Principle Power Inc. to build a 30-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Oregon. The wind farm would be the first on the West Coast, Deepwater said, and could become the world’s first commercial project to use floating foundation technology.
PROVIDENCE – Deepwater Wind LLC has announced it will develop the West Coast’s first offshore wind farm roughly 15 miles off Coos Bay, Ore.
According to a news release issued Wednesday, the company entered an agreement several months ago with Seattle-based renewable energy technology company Principle Power Inc. to complete the development of the five-turbine, 30-megawatt WindFloat Pacific project, using Principle Power’s “floating foundation” technology.
If successfully completed, the project could become the world’s first commercial project to use floating foundation technology, Deepwater said.
“The WindFloat Pacific project is an exciting opportunity to bring offshore wind energy to the U.S. West Coast and to expand Deepwater’s Wind’s growing portfolio of clean energy projects,” said CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in the release. “We’re proud to be at the forefront of the American offshore wind industry, leading trail-blazing projects like Deepwater One, the Block Island Wind Farm – and now WindFloat Pacific – that have the power to revolutionize renewable energy in America for decades to come.”
The wind farm, which would be built within a 15-square-mile lease area in federal waters roughly 15 miles off Coos Bay, has a target operational date of 2017.
Much as Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm is jumpstarting the East Coast offshore wind industry – where water depths are suitable for fixed foundations – the WindFloat Pacific project will similarly act as a catalyst for large-scale floating offshore wind farms in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean that are unsuitable for fixed foundations, said the company.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February determined no competitive interest for the proposed lease area for WindFloat Pacific, and is proceeding with a non-competitive lease issuance for the project, Deepwater said.
WindFloat Pacific has already received an award of up to $47 million in matching grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to support the project’s engineering, permitting and public outreach efforts. The Deepwater Wind project was one of three projects selected for continued DOE funding, from an original group of seven projects in the DOE’s Advanced Technology Offshore Wind Demonstration Project Program.
“Principle Power’s WindFloat technology is on the cutting edge of the offshore wind industry, and their Portugal prototype proves that the WindFloat technology is ready for a demonstration-scale commercial deployment,” Grybowski said. “Floating foundation technologies are a perfect match for deep ocean waters and strong wind resource areas on the West Coast. WindFloat Pacific will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be an important part of the West Coast’s long-term clean energy plans.”
Principle Power has successfully operated a full-scale WindFloat prototype off the coast of Portugal since 2011, where it’s delivered in excess of nine gigawatt-hours of wind energy to the local grid, Deepwater said.