This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 13, 2002

Company Proposes 12.5 Gigawatts of Wind Power at 17 Offshore Sites

A relative newcomer among wind energy developers is aiming to be a leader in U.S. offshore wind power, with proposals in development for 17 sites along the east coast. Winergy LLC lists sites off the coasts of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia as potential locations for its wind facilities. Most of the proposed wind plants total hundreds of megawatts each, and three exceed 1000 megawatts in capacity. The largest, called Gulf Bank and located off the Maryland coast, is a whopping 1,821.6 megawatts in capacity.

Just how many of these wind sites will actually be developed is anyone's guess, of course, but the company should earn some respect for just the sheer chutzpah of its proposals. The current list of proposed projects totals 12,552.8 megawatts, about equal in peak capacity to 12 average-sized nuclear power plants. And apparently, they're not done yet: According to the Winergy Web site, the company has identified a total of 22 sites for which it has begun the initial application process. The company acknowledges that the permitting process for each site is likely to take three to five years. See the Winergy Web site.

Unfortunately, very little information is currently available on the status of the Winergy proposals. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the current starting point for offshore wind energy applications, and a search of their district Web sites only yielded one relevant item, a public notice that Winergy intends to submit an application for a 975.6-megawatt wind facility off the coast of Virginia, near the entrance to Chesapeake Bay (called "Porpoise Banks 2" on the Winergy Web site). The Norfolk District of the Corps of Engineers is accepting comments on the proposal through November 19th. See the announcement on the Norfolk District Web site.

Meanwhile, the first attempt to establish an offshore wind power plant in the United States continues to move ahead, slowly but surely. The proposal by Cape Wind Associates, LLC to build a 420-megawatt wind facility off the coast of Massachusetts will face another hurdle on November 13th: The Massachusetts Electricity Facility Siting Board is holding a public hearing to examine the issues associated with a 17-mile transmission line that will connect the wind plant to the New England electrical grid. The company's preferred route involves a cable running under Nantucket Sound, then through the towns of Yarmouth and Barnstable in Massachusetts. See the Cape Wind Associates announcement.

On November 21st, the New England District of the Corps of Engineers will host an additional public meeting in Bourne, Massachusetts. The meeting will provide the public with an update on the Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Review that are being prepared for the project. See the New England District's meeting announcement.