By Boston Business Journal

Massachusetts and Rhode Island will jointly explore the development of offshore wind power in federal waters near the two states, according to an agreement announced Monday by the statesâ¿¿ governors.

Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Gov. Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island said they have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at making the two states leaders in offshore wind in the United States.

The agreement commits the states to coordinate and collaborate on exploring offshore wind in a 400-square-mile area, which begins 12 miles southwest of Marthaâ¿¿s Vineyard and extends 20 miles westward into Rhode Island Sound.

The two states will now work together on an economic development study identifying the costs and benefits of offshore wind development in the area.

The agreement also specifies that any utility-scale wind energy development in that designated area must be approved by the governors of both states, and that the economic benefits be shared by both states before it can seek necessary federal approvals.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island have both reviewed proposed offshore wind projects in recent years - Cape Wind off Nantucket Sound and Deepwater Wind off Block Island. Neither project would be located in the waters that the two states plan to explore for development.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010