Governor to speak on offshore wind plans

RHODE ISLAND - Governor Don Carcieri will offer industry leaders an update on his plans to build a massive wind farm off Rhode Island's coast capable of providing 15 percent of the state's electricity needs.

The Republican governor is scheduled to address a two-day workshop in Boston by the American Wind Energy Association, a national trade group of wind developers, suppliers, researchers and others.

He will be joined by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and ISO New England President Gordon van Welie.

"Offshore wind is one of the most reliable and sustainable sources of energy in the United States, and we are on the path to develop this nation's first deep water, offshore wind project," Carcieri said in a written statement.

In 2006, Carcieri set a goal of using wind power to produce 15 percent of the state's electricity needs. Last year, Carcieri selected Deepwater Wind LLC to build two offshore windfarms off Rhode Island.

The first would involve a handful of turbines built off Block Island, a resort destination that depends on pricey diesel fuel to generate its electricity. The second, larger project would involve the construction of about 100 turbines and stand roughly 15 miles offshore.

The project recently hit a snag when Deepwater Wind was unable to reach terms on selling the electricity generated by the smaller project to National Grid, the state's primary power company. Carcieri has told both sides to keep negotiating.

Rhode Island is among several states interested in offshore wind power. In Massachusetts, the 130-turbine Cape Wind project, the nation's first proposed offshore wind farm, has prompted a backlash from critics, including most recently an American Indian tribe. Projects have also been proposed in Delaware and Texas.


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