The Block Island offshore wind farm will produce more power than originally expected, said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski at an open meeting before the state's Public Utilities Commission. The company expected the wind farm to produce 40 percent of its total maximum power. But since the company proposed the project, advances in turbine technology have bumped up the wind farm’s projected efficiency.
“And that additional power production is a really large jump,” said Grybowski. “And so 5 or 7 extra percentage points of efficiency mean a lot more power, which means that the unit cost of all that energy comes down.”
Since 2011, Deepwater Wind has secured property rights, major permits, and leases, and completed survey and engineering work. Construction of the turbines has already begun. Grybowski said more construction will begin in Quonsett this spring.
“So we’re gearing up to be doing physical work here locally, and physical work is already taking place in other parts of the country,” he said. “So we’re excited to be moving into that stage.”
Offshore construction begins this summer.
National Grid has also agreed to construct and own the submarine cable from Narragansett to Block Island. Bill Malee, National Grid’s director of transmission commercial services, said the biggest update shared with the PUC is the evolution of the project.
“The last time the [state’s Public Utilities] Commission reviewed this project [in 2010], it was really in conceptual phase and now we’re steps away from construction,” said Malee.
National Grid is still finalizing the engineering design for the underwater cable.
Deepwater Wind expects it to be fully operational by the end of 2016. This could be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
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