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Chafee foresees large role for R.I. in offshore wind

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island will have a major role to play in the offshore wind industry, even though a developer chose to use a Massachusetts port to build a large wind farm, Governor Lincoln Chafee said Monday.

Rhode Island officials had hoped that Cape Wind would use New Bedford and Rhode Island’s Quonset Point for the staging and construction of a proposed 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, bringing jobs and economic activity to both states. Cape Wind announced Friday that it had signed a lease agreement with Massachusetts.

Chafee said Cape Wind would probably need support in Rhode Island for its projects. Company spokesman Mark Rodgers said Monday that Cape Wind is keeping its one-year option to lease about 14 acres at Quonset in case it needs to use both ports.

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And as projects for Rhode Island energy developer Deepwater Wind move forward, Chafee said, Rhode Island will become a leader in the industry.

Deepwater Wind plans to build five turbines off the coast of Block Island and a wind farm of at least 200 turbines for 1,000 or more megawatts between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

The company has an option to lease 47 acres at Quonset and has said it would probably establish logistics hubs, assembly facilities, and long-term operations centers at Quonset and the Port of Providence.

Deepwater Wind’s chief executive, Jeffrey Grybowski, said the smaller wind farm could create 200 jobs locally during the construction phase, and the larger wind farm could create more than 1,000 jobs.