U.S. awards first sites for offshore wind

Aug. 1, 2013 at 10:56 AM
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PROVIDENCE, R.I., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A Rhode Island energy company said it plans to install 200 turbines off the U.S. East Coast after winning the first U.S. auction for offshore wind energy.

Deepwater Wind said it was the provisional winner of two wind energy sites auctioned by the U.S. government off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The auction concluded Wednesday evening. Deepwater Wind said it secured the sites with a bid of $3.8 million.

"This is an enormous step forward for the industry," Deepwater Wind Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement. "This is the best site for offshore wind in the United States, bar none."

Grybowski said the offshore wind farms would be able to produce as much as 1,000 megawatts of energy to multiple U.S. markets. He said construction is to begin in 2017.

The wind energy area is about 9 miles off the East Coast.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the first auction was a milestone for the country.

"A lot of collaboration and thoughtful planning went into getting to this point and we'll continue to employ that approach as we move forward up and down the coast to ensure that offshore wind energy is realized in the right way and in the right places," she said in a statement.

More than 100,000 acres off the coast of Virginia go on the auction block Sept. 4. The Interior Department said additional auctions may take place for acreage off the coasts of Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey later this year and in 2014.

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