Deepwater takes center stage at wind-power conference
A LIFTBOAT OFF BLOCK ISLAND does core sampling for Deepwater Wind's Block Island Wind Farm. At the time of this 2009 photo, Louisiana-based Montco Offshore expected to begin installing wind turbines in 2013. So far, the five-turbine project is still in the permitting process.
PROVIDENCE – “This is a very big year for us with the two projects,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski told 700 participants in the opening session of the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Windpower 2013 Conference and Exhibition at the Rhode Island Convention Center, being held today and Wednesday.
Deepwater Wind is at the forefront of America’s emerging offshore wind-energy industry as it continues to push slowly forward with permitting for its proposed five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm and develops plans for the 200-turbine Deepwater Wind Energy Center on sites it won earlier this year in the first federal auction for offshore leases.
“We are in the advanced stages of securing contracts with vessels for installation and service and we’re moving into the financial closing mode for the project,” Grybowski said in an update on the Block Island project.
Keynote speaker U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell complimented Deepwater Wind for developing wind-energy plans that involved many stakeholders in the “heavily trafficked offshore areas.”
“I am impressed by this state’s commitment to green energy,” Jewell told conferees, based on the three times she’s been in Rhode Island in the six month’s she’s led the Department of Interior.
Accelerating “clean-energy” development is a priority for her department, said Jewell. One reason to expedite permitting is to strengthen investor confidence in the offshore wind industry.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told conferees that the offshore wind industry is “... leading the way to a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future.”
Even though the offshore wind industry is making substantial progress with the Block Island Wind Farm and Cape Wind’s 130-turbine wind farm to be located in Nantucket Sound - which has been in the works for 12 years and is now fully permitted - there are many challenges still to face, said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
“We have to send a very clear, concise message that offshore wind is critically beneficial for a diverse energy portfolio for the U.S.,” said Kiernan.
The original version of this story incorrectly quoted Jeff Grybowski as saying that Deepwater Wind is “securing vessels for installation and service.” The quote should have read that Deepwater Wind is “securing contracts with vessels for installation and service.”