After five years of regulatory hurdles and delays, it’s easy to forget about the full promise of Deepwater Wind’s proposed offshore wind-energy projects. Yes, a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island and a much larger, 200-turbine project in federal waters off the state’s coast would add to the region’s alternative energy supply.
There are legitimate questions about the eventual competitiveness of the cost of that electricity. The demonstration project would cost ratepayers significantly more than traditional energy sources. But the stakes for Rhode Island also involve the ancillary wind-energy industry that might emerge around those wind projects.
Several companies in attendance at last week’s Wind Energy Association conference in Providence are hoping for a piece of those projects, including some such as Salt Lake City-based DOSECC Exploration Services LLC willing to open satellite offices here.
“We’re looking at this whole Northeast market,” DOSECC President Dennis Nielson told PBN in a story on Page 8.
DOSECC worked with Louisiana-based lift-boat company Montco Offshore to do core samples for the five-turbine project in 2009. It expected to compete to install turbines in 2013, but now thinks it could be 2016.
“Offshore wind just hasn’t happened yet,” said Montco Chief Technology Officer Joseph Orgeron.
But if and when it does, those companies and others will have jobs-hungry Rhode Island in their sights. •