October 05, 2008
Offshore Wind Developments For Rhode Island And New Jersey

In the wake of a decision for a Delaware offshore wind farm two more wind farm projects in the US Northeast reach initial agreements for their development. 15% of Rhode Island electric power will come from an offshore wind project.

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced that Deepwater Wind was chosen as the successful developer to construct a wind energy project off the shores of Rhode Island that will provide 1.3 million megawatt hours per year of renewable energy – 15 percent of all electricity used in the state. It is expected that the project will cost in excess of $1 billion to construct – all from private investment sources. A team of experts assembled by Governor Carcieri spent several months evaluating the detailed proposals submitted by seven development groups.

Deepwater Wind was established to develop utility-scale offshore wind projects in the northeastern part of the United States. The company’s major investors are FirstWind, a major developer of on-shore wind projects in the United States, D.E. Shaw & Co., a capital investment firm with deep experience in the energy sector, and Ospraie Management, a leading asset management firm with a focus on alternative energy markets.

The supporters of this project expect the wind electric costs to be not greatly above other sources.

Deepwater and the state are now set to enter into a 90-day negotiation period, during which details of the agreement for the wind farm will be hammered out. Andrew C. Dzykewicz, the governor’s chief energy adviser and the commissioner of the R.I. Office of Energy Resources, said he expects the Deepwater wind farm to be generating electricity at a cost of 7 to 9 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2012 if the regulatory process stays on track. (National Grid’s current rate base calls for a 12.5-cent rate.)

The deal is driven by a state law requiring more energy from renewables. Many states have passed such mandates.

Deepwater is proposing to build about 100 turbines, which could provide 385 megawatts of electricity – meeting Carcieri’s goal of obtain 15 percent of the state’s electricity energy from renewable sources. A state law mandates that the state must be getting 16 percent of its energy from renewables by 2019.

The NJ utility regulatory agency has chosen a team to develop another offshore wind farm.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU) today announced that it has chosen Garden State Offshore Energy (GSOE), a joint venture of PSEG Renewable Generation and Deepwater Wind, as the preferred developer of a 350-megawatt wind farm off the coast of New Jersey. As the preferred developer, GSOE will proceed with evaluation of the project's environmental impacts and wind resources quality as well as begin the permitting process at both the state and federal levels.

GSOE's proposal calls for 96 wind turbines arranged in a rectangular grid 16 to 20 miles off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties (for map showing location in relation to N.J. coast, go to www.gardenstatewind.com). At this distance, the wind farm would be barely visible from shore, addressing one of the major concerns of beach communities. The wind farm could begin generating energy in 2012 with the entire project operational in 2013.

The New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP) calls for 20 percent of the state's New Jersey's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, a major portion of which is envisioned to be from offshore wind. This decision marks the state's ongoing commitment to aggressively encourage the expansion and creation of clean energy solutions to meet the state's energy needs.

We will find out from the Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island projects whether the considerable wind resources of the Mid-Atlantic Bight can be tapped in an affordable way. If these projects succeed that will bode well for our post-oil future. Throw in a success with getting the costs down on the Chevy Volt and we'll be able to keep moving when oil production goes into sharp decline.

New York might be next.

A year after nixing an offshore wind farm near Jones Beach, the Long Island Power Authority will explore a new, larger proposal with Con Edison for a field of up to 100 turbines off the coast of Queens.

LIPA chief executive Kevin Law today is expected to announce the formation of a working group with Con Ed to study the feasibility of a "significant" wind farm, possibly 10 miles off the Rockaways. If the two utilities can agree on a plan, they will draw up a request for proposals, perhaps early next year.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 October 05 08:25 PM  Energy Wind

Grim said at October 5, 2008 10:57 PM:

For a long time it's been clear that we need a better portable power source. Batteries simply don't cut it and they are not improving fast enough.
A while back I learned we power space probes over long trips using a chunk of nuclear waste.

Now we have a ton of waste laying around that we are having trouble disposing of. Wouldn't make better sense to package up small amounts of this waste into long term batteries? This would allow us to power all kinds of power hungry portable devices in almost any conditions. This would change the world.

Anti radiation fears are likely what's causing people to shy away from something like this. Have you heard anything about the subject?

Reality Czech said at October 6, 2008 8:58 AM:
Wouldn't make better sense to package up small amounts of this waste into long term batteries?
No. The power output from this waste is very small (if it was significant you could not package it in dry casks and not worry about it overheating). Certain isotopes have good output, but they are a very small fraction of the total and the energy output is not worth what it takes to isolate them.

Look at the afterheat curves for spent nuclear fuel and you will see that this idea is useless. Why didn't you do that before posting? People should do their own reality checks.

Nick G said at October 6, 2008 10:48 AM:

"Batteries simply don't cut it and they are not improving fast enough"

If you're talking about transportation, actually, they do, they just couldn't compete with dirt-cheap oil. Even lead-acid will do if necessary - it's weight and size are a bit inconvenient, but it would work and be cost-effective.

In addition, both lead-acid and li-ion are improving quite quickly.

If you're talking about utility scale storage, keep in mind that plug-in hybrids will provide an enormous amount of schedulable demand, at essentially zero cost to the utilities.

Randall Parker said at October 6, 2008 6:53 PM:

Nick G,

I realize some company was trying to bring out a longer lasting and lighter lead acid battery. They claimed they'd made some discovery that allowed them to replace either the electrode or anode with some spongy ceramic material if memory serves. But the years keep going by. Where is it?

Nick G said at October 6, 2008 10:46 PM:


You're thinking of Firefly Energy ( http://www.fireflyenergy.com/ ).

They seem to be very much alive, but moving a bit slowly. Their latest press release indicates that they're still raising money, and have just built a 40,000 Sq Ft headquarters.


They seem to be shipping to the military, and pre-selling to the truck market. California outlawed truck idling - that demands better batteries for A/C, fridges, etc.

rbl said at October 8, 2008 11:04 PM:

The Australian CSIRO has an interesting lead battery/supercapacitor combo that should be cheap and maybe 4x the efficiency of common lead-acid units.
Satellites use Plutonium-238, not found in nuclear waste. Waste is very hot at first, but rapidly cools off.

Ken said at October 12, 2008 2:08 PM:

I don't see storage as that big a problem - because we've never needed utility scale storage it doesn't exist but thermal storage is relatively simple. Compressed air storage is relatively simple. Neither will be built on a large scale as long as coal keeps running 24/7. Of course, without building storage first we'll "need" to keep running them 24/7.

I think I'd like to see serious effort to make coal plants that can turn on and off quickly enough to be squeezed into backup for renewables as a stopgap while utility scale storage gets developed and built.

Ken said at October 12, 2008 2:11 PM:

Sorry I know the comments are about transport, but the original post was about wind and utility scale storage is what it needs to become baseload power.

K said at October 14, 2008 6:18 PM:

I'm not sure compressed air storage is all that simple. There isn't a lot of reliable information about it. It is said to be used a couple of places in Europe. And, as I recall, Sweden tried it decades ago, the vessel was to be a large chamber quarried out of a hill.

I believe the problem is that air gets very hot during compression and there is only so much heat the container will take. Of course you can remove the heat but you lose energy to do that.

Anyway, definitive information about compressed air storage would be welcome. Even Google seems to offer little - it may be there, I didn't look too hard.

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