Intelligent Energy

Offshore turbines to link power grids

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Deepwater Wind is proposing the creation of a 1,000-megawatt wind farm between New York and Rhode Island, which would fill New York's power grid with less expensive energy generated up north.

Monolithic offshore wind turbines may one day join the power grids of New England and New York if a developer’s proposal comes to fruition.

Deepwater Wind made headlines today when it suggested that a 1,000-megawatt wind farm could double as a large-scale energy transmission project. The 200 turbine site would cover 270-square miles, and be located between Rhode Island and New York’s Long Island.

“Transmission projects are complicated, but they make an awful lot of sense,” Deepwater Wind CEO William Moore told the New York Times. New Yorkers would benefit from lower priced electricity should the US$6 billion site ever be built.

The deep waters of the Block Island Sound further complicates the construction of the turbines, which will rise up to 500 feet above the waterline, according to the report. Each tower’s rotors would have a 400-foot diameter.

Deepwater is not alone in its thinking. A project called Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) gained the backing of Web powerhouse Google in October. AWC would strew a series of undersea transmission lines to connect offshore turbines from New Jersey to Delaware to Virginia.

Offshore wind power projects are by no means the mainstay of the US power grid; a smattering is just now gaining regulatory approval. Some of those projects include:

· A 468-megawatt site off Massachusetts by Cape Wind Associates.

· Additional projects have been proposed in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

An Interior Department fast-track program could streamline the permit process, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is hastening its review of new site to shore transmission lines.

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure