With no other company jumping up to say it wanted in, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) today announced it would move ahead with environmental review of a proposal by Atlantic Grid Holdings to build a big Google-backed Mid-Atlantic offshore wind power transmission line.
The “backbone” Atlantic Wind Connection would carry as much as 7,000 megawatts of power onshore, the DOI said, using a high-voltage, direct-current subsea transmission system to collect power generated at wind farms off the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
Google said in 2010, when it announced its participation in the project, that Atlantic Wind Connection was being led by the independent transmission company Trans-Elect. Good Energies and Marubeni Corporation were also kicking in to back the project, but the Internet giant was said to be in for up to 37.5 percent of the equity for initial development. The New York Times reported the project could cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion.
“This ‘backbone’ transmission project would play a central role in bringing energy generated by our nation’s abundant offshore wind power resources to the grid to power homes and businesses,” Tommy P. Beaudreau, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), said in a statement today. “Our next step will be to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of issuing a renewable energy right-of-way grant for this project.”
The DOI had opened up the Atlantic Wind Connection project for 60 days of review in order to determine whether there were other developers interested in constructing transmission facilities in the same area, and to take public comment on site conditions and multiple uses within the right-of-way grant area that would be relevant to the proposed project or its impacts.
“Following the 60-day open comment period, BOEM has determined there is no overlapping competitive interest in the proposed right-of-way grant area off the Mid-Atlantic coast, clearing the way for consideration of the Atlantic Wind Connection,” the department said today.