- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of the Department of the Interior has granted a right-of-way for the $75 million undersea transmission line that will deliver the wind-generated electricity from Deepwater Wind’s 30 megawatt Block Island offshore project to the mainland.
- The right-of-way runs eight nautical miles long and 200 feet wide between the Rhode Island mainland and Block Island, an isle off the coast near the planned wind project. It is the first ever granted in federal waters for a transmission line carrying offshore wind.
- The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council opened the way for the federal approval by last week unanimously authorizing a submerged land lease and licenses for the part of the underground transmission that traverses state waters.
Off-taker National Grid will build and pay for the transmission project, RENews reports.
The next step for Deepwater Wind will be to have BOEM finalize its general activities plan (GAP), which details the proposed installation and decommissioning procedures for the transmission project.
Deepwater Wind intends to close financing on the $300 million wind project by the end of 2014. Construction of the 5 Alstom 6-megawatt turbines is expected to begin in spring 2015 and be completed by late 2016.
These authorizations make clear that Block Island will beat Massachusetts’ Cape Wind into service as the first U.S. offshore wind installation. But the 468-megawatt Nantucket Sound project, which should also complete financing later this year, will be the first U.S. utility-scale offshore wind project. It will use Siemens 3.6 megawatt turbines.
The authorizations also suggest long term promise for the Google co-financed 6,000 megawatt Atlantic Wind Connection, a planned backbone transmission project for Mid-Atlantic offshore wind.