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Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, R-R.I., has announced that Deepwater Wind was chosen as the developer to construct a wind energy project off the shores of Rhode Island that will provide 1.3 million MWh per year of renewable energy annually - 15% of all electricity used in the state. It is expected that the project will cost in excess of $1 billion to construct, and the funds will come from private investment sources. A team of experts 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 U.S. The company's major investors are FirstWind, a major developer of onshore wind projects in the U.S.; D.E. Shaw & Co., a capital investment firm with deep experience in the energy sector, and Ospraie Management, an asset management firm with a focus on alternative energy markets.

"This is much more than an energy project," says Carcieri. "This is about creating a new industry in Rhode Island - an industry that puts Rhode Island at the epicenter of the emerging alternative energy market. Deepwater Wind will help bring new economic activity, jobs and opportunity to Rhode Island. From construction through operation, Deepwater Wind projects will provide high-quality, green collar jobs. Further, Deepwater Wind's jacket foundations are the ideal cost-effective solution for the deeper waters in our region."

Deepwater Wind has pledged a significant private investment in Rhode Island of approximately $1.5 billion with the construction of a regional manufacturing facility in Quonset, and creating up to 800 direct jobs, with annual wages of $60 million. The Quonset facility will manufacture support structures upon which the turbine and its tower are based.

The exact location of the wind project will be determined from the results of the Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) permitting process led by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in partnership with URI's Graduate School of Oceanography.

The state and Deepwater Wind will now enter a 90-day period to negotiate a formal development agreement. The final agreement will include the total commitment to Rhode Island made by Deepwater Wind, including the establishment of a manufacturing headquarters in the state and the reimbursement of the cost of the SAMP to the Renewable Energy Fund. In addition, the agreement will outline the preferred developer status for Deepwater Wind in the permitting process.

Final approval of the project is contingent on multiple regulatory approvals from both the state and federal governments.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, Providence Plantations

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