(Bloomberg) — Deepwater Wind LLC received $290 million in
financing that will allow it to begin building its Block Island
offshore wind project in Rhode Island, the first one in the U.S.
“We’ll have steel in the water this summer,” Chief
Executive Officer Jeff Grybowski, a former chief of staff to the
governor of Rhode Island, said Monday in a telephone interview.
“It’s an enormous step for the project, and it’s an equally
enormous step for the offshore wind industry in the U.S.”
Other U.S. offshore wind projects have struggled to reach
completion. The $2.6 billion Cape Wind project off Massachusetts
has been under development for 13 years, stalled by legal
battles with local fishermen and Native American tribes. Two
utilities in January filed to cancel power-purchase agreements
with the 468-megawatt project after it missed a Dec. 31 deadline
to complete financing.
Deepwater won a July 2013 U.S. government auction to
develop wind farms off the coasts of Rhode Island and
Massachusetts. The Providence, Rhode Island-based company also
has proposed a project as large as 1.2 gigawatts off the coast
of Long Island.
“Deepwater Wind succeeded where Cape Wind failed — they
chose a less controversial site and a more manageable size,”
said Amy Grace, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“This is a major milestone.”
The $290 million in debt financing is from Societe Generale
SA and KeyBank NA. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. D.E. Shaw
& Co., the $36 billion New York-based hedge fund, also
contributed about $70 million in equity to Block Island.
The 30-megawatt wind farm will use five 6-megawatt turbines
manufactured by Alstom SA. They are scheduled to be installed in
mid-2016, with the project expected to be operational by the end
of that year. National Grid Plc has agreed to buy the wind
farm’s output under a 20-year contract.
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Tina Davis, Carlos Caminada