Project off Oregon Coast Will be First Commercial Floating Offshore Wind Farm.
Deepwater Wind today announced plans to develop the West Coast’s first-ever offshore wind farm – a project poised to become the world’s first commercial project to use cutting-edge floating foundation technology.
Deepwater Wind entered into an agreement several months ago with Principle Power to complete the development of the 30-megawatt (MW) WindFloat Pacific project, using Principle Power’s groundbreaking WindFloat technology.
This agreement demonstrates Deepwater Wind’s success in building a portfolio of offshore wind projects across multiple technologies and geographic areas. Much as Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm is jumpstarting the East Coast offshore wind industry – where water depths are suitable for fixed foundations – the WindFloat Pacific project will similarly act as a catalyst for large-scale floating offshore wind farms in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean that are unsuitable for fixed foundations.
The agreement extends Deepwater Wind’s leadership and expertise to the West Coast and to floating foundation technology – solidifying the growing company’s position as the leading American offshore wind developer. Deepwater Wind is actively developing several offshore wind projects off the Eastern Seaboard.
“The WindFloat Pacific project is an exciting opportunity to bring offshore wind energy to the U.S. West Coast and to expand Deepwater’s Wind’s growing portfolio of clean energy projects,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “We’re proud to be at the forefront of the American offshore wind industry, leading trail-blazing projects like Deepwater ONE, the Block Island Wind Farm – and now WindFloat Pacific – that have the power to revolutionize renewable energy in America for decades to come.”
The announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the WindFloat Pacific project up to $47 million in matching grants to support the project’s engineering, permitting and public outreach efforts.
The WindFloat Pacific project was one of three projects selected for continued DOE funding, from an original group of seven projects in the DOE’s Advanced Technology Offshore Wind Demonstration Project Program.
“Deepwater Wind brings all the necessary experience and resources to advance the WindFloat Pacific project. Our agreement brings together accomplishments and expertise – Principle Power’s proven technology and Deepwater’s experienced energy team – and we’re thrilled at this collaboration,” said Alla Weinstein, Principle Power’s CEO.
The 5-turbine WindFloat Pacific project would be built within a 15-square mile lease area in federal waters roughly 15 miles off Coos Bay, Ore., with the wind farm in operations in 2017.
Principle Power has successfully operated a full-scale WindFloat prototype off the coast of Portugal since 2011, where it’s delivered in excess of nine gigawatt (GW)-hours of wind energy to the local grid.
“Principle Power’s WindFloat technology is on the cutting edge of the offshore wind industry, and their Portugal prototype proves that the WindFloat technology is ready for a demonstration-scale commercial deployment,” Grybowski said. “Floating foundation technologies are a perfect match for deep ocean waters and strong wind resource areas on the West Coast. WindFloat Pacific will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be an important part of the West Coast’s long-term clean energy plans.”
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February released a determination of no competitive interest for the proposed lease area, and is proceeding with a non-competitive lease issuance for the WindFloat Pacific project.
The project is complimentary to Deepwater Wind’s demonstration-scale 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, located about three miles off the coast of Block Island, R.I. The Block Island Wind Farm’s permits are currently under review by state and federal agencies and construction of major components has already begun. That project remains on target to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, expected to be in operation in 2016.
Deepwater Wind has proposed supplying Long Island, N.Y., with more than 200 megawatts of renewable energy from Deepwater ONE, an offshore wind farm proposed for federal waters approximately 30 miles east of Montauk, N.Y. Construction could begin as early as 2017, with commercial operations by 2018.
Deepwater Wind won the 30-year lease to develop the Deepwater ONE project in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf. The project site has the capacity to accommodate approximately 1 GW of offshore wind energy. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s first-ever competitive lease auction for offshore wind covered two parcels, totaling approximately 256 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean 30 miles east of Montauk.
Deepwater Wind is America’s leading offshore wind and transmission developer, actively developing projects off both the East and West Coasts. The Company is led by a veteran management team with extensive experience in developing renewable-energy projects throughout the United States. The Company is actively planning offshore wind projects to serve multiple markets, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Oregon. The Company’s Block Island Wind Farm is on target to become the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
Principle Power, www.principlepowerinc.com, is a U.S. technology developer based in Seattle, WA, focused on the offshore wind energy market. Principle Power’s enabling product, a floating wind turbine support structure called the WindFloat, permits the siting of offshore wind turbines in water depths greater than 40m, thus exploiting the world’s highest capacity wind resources. Offshore wind installations in these water depths have not been feasible, to date, due to economic and technological limitations. A 2MW prototype of the WindFloat is currently operating offshore of Portugal and is the first offshore wind turbine to be installed without the use of heavy lift equipment.