Updated September 4 at 4:04pm

Gold: Deepwater delays ‘unavoidable’

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Time has proven the initial guiding document between Deepwater Wind and the state – the Joint Development Agreement, or JDA – ambitious, with a host of unmet target dates.

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Gold: Deepwater delays ‘unavoidable’

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Time has proven the initial guiding document between Deepwater Wind and the state – the Joint Development Agreement, or JDA – ambitious, with a host of unmet target dates.

Though clearly outdated, a recent state review of the 5-year-old document concluded “that Deepwater Wind has lived up to its end of the bargain and the state has upheld its end of the bargain,” Rhode Island Energy Commissioner Marion S. Gold told Providence Business News.

Gold told PBN last week that unmet target dates in the document, including: July 31, 2010 – R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council grants Deepwater all necessary permits and approvals for Phase I (five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm); and June 30, 2012 – Completion of a fully developed project for Phase I, will not be updated.

“Milestones were missed because of unavoidable delays,” Gold told PBN in email responses to questions regarding the validity of the contract. “The document stands as an indication of the collaborative intent which both the state and company have honored but, going forth, challenges relating to energy markets and competition with other types of electricity generation will have the most influence on how the Phase II (200-turbine) offshore wind project moves forward.

“We also will hold Deepwater Wind to its commitment to maximize economic development in Rhode Island as the projects move forward – a commitment that the company has stood by to date,” she said.

The document, negotiated in 2008 and signed Jan. 2, 2009, does still include “an option for contract termination if the [200-turbine] project in federal waters is stalled as of Dec. 31, 2016,” said Gold. “The ability for the state to terminate the agreement in 2016 is the leverage remaining in the JDA.

“That said, the state regulatory agencies, separate from the JDA, will hold the developer to the highest standards with respect to the environment, safety and other issues,” she added.

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