Offshore wind farm effort announces turbine partner

The company seeking to develop a wind farm 3 miles offshore from Block Island announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with a manufacturer that will produce five 6-megawatt turbines for the project.

Deepwater Wind's agreement with Alstom, a global technology company with a plant in Windsor, comes as the Deepwater prepares for public hearings later this month on key state permits needed for the project. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council hearings will be 2 p.m. Feb. 24 at Shoreham Town Hall on Block Island, and 10 a.m. Feb. 27 at the University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus in Narragansett.

"We're thrilled to have a company as renowned as Alstom as our turbine partner," Jeffrey Grybowski, chief executive officer of Deepwater Wind, said in a news release.

Alstom will supply the five turbines, including tower sections, for the 30-megawatt wind farm, which would be located off the island's southeast shore, the news release said. Under a separate agreement, Alstom will provide long-term service and maintenance for the turbines. The project will supply power to 17,200 Rhode Island households.

Under the contract, Deepwater Wind made an initial multimillion-dollar payment to Alstom in December that allowed Alstom to begin the manufacturing process for the turbines. Alstom has begun procurement of all 15 blades for the wind farm, which are being manufactured in Europe and will be delivered to Deepwater Wind in April.

"Deepwater Wind's multi-million dollar payment to begin manufacturing our project's 15 blades ensures that our project will qualify for the federal Investment Tax Credit," Grybowski said. "When combined with engineering and permitting work we already completed, we're confident this payment puts us significantly over the required five percent 'safe harbor' for the ITC."

The Deepwater Wind-Alstom partnership will create a number of local jobs and boost economic activity in Rhode Island, the news release said. In addition to operations and management positions Deepwater Wind will fill to support the project, Alstom intends to base its long-term service operations in Rhode Island and to perform pre-installation work in a Rhode Island harbor. Alstom will also investigate opportunities to do assembly work in Rhode Island, the release said.

j.benson@theday.com

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