RI, MA Announce Selection Of Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Energy Projects

May 23, 2018

Deepwater Wind and Vineyard Wind, clean energy developers based in southern New England, were selected to build large-scale wind farms in federal waters off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 

Both companies submitted proposals last year in response to a request from utility companies in Massachusetts. 

Deepwater Wind, which oversaw construction of the Block Island Wind Farm, would construct a 400-megawatt wind farm southeast of their first project. It would be large enough to supply up to 25 percent of the state’s energy needs.  

"We determined that (the project) brings benefits to Rhode Island economically, environmentally, it will bring savings to Rhode Island’s customers," Carol Grant, commissioner of the Office of Energy Resources, said. 

Specific environmental and economic impacts have not yet been made public. 

Massachusetts chose Vineyard Wind's project, which would be twice the size at 800 megawatts. That represents up to 6 percent of the Bay State's electrical load.

"Today's announcement brings the Commonwealth one step closer to achieving our administration's goals of creating a clean, reliable and coast-effective  energy future for Massachusetts residents, and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change," Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. 

Seafreeze Ltd., a Rhode Island-based commercial fishing company, has raised concerns about the effect offshore wind projects could have on the fishing industry, especially squid fishing grounds.  

Deepwater Wind and Vineyard Wind will be negotiating contracts with utility companies before final approval of the projects.