The developer of the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. is ramping up work on projects to supply energy to several states.
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said Monday they're beginning the next, larger phase of development for a wind farm to supply power to Rhode Island and Connecticut, another for Long Island, New York, and a third for Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Providence-based Deepwater Wind has leased areas near Massachusetts and Maryland.
"We're going into a very intensive phase now, where in order to submit permit applications and begin to do the engineering and design, we will be spending tens of millions of dollars over the coming year to collect data from the wind farm locations," Grybowski said.
They'll measure wind characteristics with specialized offshore buoys, scan the sea floor and sample soil as they gather geological, biological and engineering information. The Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association wants monitoring of lobster settlements to ensure they won't be disturbed.
"We're just trying to set the ground work to make sure we can be at the table, which we are, to request the research to be done before, during and after construction," Beth Casoni, the association's executive director, said Tuesday.
Casoni said Deepwater Wind's 256-square-mile federal lease area south of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts is an active area for multiple fisheries. The site could hold over 200 turbines. Currently about 90 turbines are planned.
Grybowski said he wants to market that site in the future to officials in New York and Massachusetts who want to develop renewable energy.
Deepwater Wind opened the first U.S. offshore wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, in December 2016. Five turbines generate enough power for about 17,000 homes.
The company is adopting new procedures to ensure that commercial fishing gear isn't damaged by its offshore wind farm construction. Grybowski said it's time to have a more formalized, systematic approach, now that the industry is growing and the projects are significantly larger.
He expects the new wind farms to open between 2022 and 2023. The turbines are expected to generate enough energy to power about 200,000 homes in Rhode Island, 100,000 in Connecticut, 50,000 on Long Island and 35,000 in Maryland.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)