Deepwater Wind announced today that it is doubling the proposed size of its larger offshore wind farm to 200 turbines. The expanded project – which is different from Deepwater’s small pilot wind farm planned off Block Island – could generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity about 18 miles off Rhode Island’s coast. The Providence Journal’s Alex Kuffner offered a thorough rundown of the latest iteration in today’s paper, and I recommend his article.
This morning I called Matt Kaplan, an associate director at the Cambridge consultancy IHS Emerging Energy Research who covers the North American wind energy industry. I asked him for his take on Deepwater’s announcement, what challenges the company faces in moving forward, and how this fits into the broader offshore wind picture here in New England (think Cape Wind). Here’s a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
What’s your take on Deepwater Wind’s big announcement today?
The project itself is of a very large scale – 1,000 megawatts would put it up there as one of the largest proposed offshore wind projects in the U.S. So it’s a very ambitious and aggressive announcement, especially in light of some of the challenges that offshore wind has faced in the past couple of years, and that includes the permitting process, which has traditionally been a challenge, as well as making project economics work.