RI senator says review of wind energy will pave way for new projects

September 2012, Vol. 67 No. 9

Rhode Island has taken a "careful, balanced review" toward wind energy that will help pave the way for the successful launch of several new projects, U.S. Senator Jack Reed from the nation’s smallest state told Platts Energy Week, an all-energy news and talk show program.

"We have the same critical issues of balancing environmental quality, protecting fishing grounds and also making sure that aesthetically, it works," Reed, a Democrat, said on the program. "But Rhode Island is better positioned because they've done a lot of work."

The state is "ahead" because it "took the time and the effort to do the science first, and not just talk about the potential for energy production."

The first project targeted in Rhode Island is being backed by a company called Deepwater Wind, which is awaiting final state and federal approval for a 30 megawatt demonstration-scale wind farm in state waters three miles southeast of Block Island. The project would consist of five turbines and deliver electricity to Block Island, which is now entirely reliant on diesel for generation.

Reed also expressed hope that fabrication of wind turbines would take place in Rhode Island, specifically at Quonset Point, a former Naval Air Station in North Kingston. Infrastructure has been developed to allow that, with $22 million provided under the American Recovery Act.