Deepwater lands final state permit

Deepwater Wind has obtained the final state permit required for its 30MW Block Island project, further clearing the way for what may become the first offshore wind project to reach completion in US waters.

Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council voted unanimously in favour of the five-turbine project on Tuesday night, handing Deepwater Wind what it has deemed the most critical permit it needs to get its wind farm into the water.

The US Army Corps of Engineers must still approve the $250m project, but the developer expects to have that permit in hand within a matter of weeks.

Deepwater Wind, owned by the hedge fund DE Shaw, has already begun onshore assembly of the five Alstom Haliade 6MW turbines that will be installed starting next year some three miles (5km) off the coast of Block Island, in the Rhode Island Sound.

Deepwater is already looking beyond Block Island, as evidenced by the recent announcement that it will partner with Principle Power on its 30MW offshore wind project off the coast of Oregon – likely to be the first offshore wind farm built off the US West Coast.

Last week the US Energy Department said it will provide Principle Power with up to $46.7m in matching funding to demonstrate its semi-submersible floating technology at that project.

Deepwater Wind is in a race with Energy Management Inc.’s far larger Cape Wind project, sited off the coast of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, to see which gets a turbine in the water first.

Cape Wind aims to install 130 Siemens 3.6MW turbines.