Deepwater eyes LIPA contract

Deepwater Wind will submit a proposal later this month to sell 280MW of offshore wind power to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), a potential deal that would jump-start commercial development of a lease area in the Atlantic Ocean, chief executive Jeffrey Grybowski tells Recharge.

“We’re excited because we think it’s probably the most near-term opportunity for a revenue contract for offshore wind in the US,” he says.  “We feel pretty good about our chances.” The submission deadline is 31 March.

Last year, Deepwater won the first US competitive offshore wind energy lease auction, paying $3.83m for the opportunity to develop two parcels in federal waters facing Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  

The North Lease Area comprises about 97,500 acres (394.5sq km) and the South Lease Area about 67,250 acres. They are roughly 17 miles (27.2km) from shore on the outer continental shelf and can accommodate “well over” 1GW of generation capacity, according to Grybowski.

The developer calls its future projects there the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC) , which will also serve New England.

Deepwater, which is based in Rhode Island, plans to develop them in phases over time as opportunities become available to sell power.

“Our idea today is hopefully secure a revenue contract from LIPA and build that first phase to satisfy that contract,” he says.

Deepwater would deliver electricity from the offshore array to Long Island via a new submarine high-voltage direct current cable.

He notes that Deepwater has been working to detail the economic, energy security and environmental benefits of its offshore supply proposal with a variety of stakeholders on Long Island.

If Deepwater does win a contract with LIPA, it would strive for 2018 commercial operation. That would be a firm test for the untried permitting system for offshore wind that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is working to streamline.