By Boston Business Journal

Neptune Wind, a new offshore wind power development firm based in Winchester, Mass., is seeking to build a wind farm offshore from Massachusetts that would produce more power than Cape Wind using fewer turbines, CEO Chuck Digate said in an interview Friday.

Neptune is seeking to erect 80 to 100 turbines 20 miles south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which would generate 500 megawatts of power, Digate said. The firm has qualified as a commercial energy leaseholder on the Outer Continental Shelf in the ⿿area of mutual interest⿝ between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Digate said.

The turbines would necessarily be larger than those planned for Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound, a 130-turbine project that would produce 468 megawatts of power. Developer Cape Wind Associates of Boston has not stated when construction could begin on the federally-approved project.

Neptuneâ¿¿s wind project, dubbed Nomans Wind, could get a lease for its target area of federal waters by as soon as the end of 2012 or early 2013, Digate said. Construction would be at least five years away even if all goes well with leasing, environmental review, permitting and sale of the power, he said.

Still, the project is one of many signs that offshore wind in New England is ⿿no longer just about Cape Wind,⿝ Digate said. ⿿Now it⿿s a whole industry that⿿s going to be starting up ⿿ the supply chain of vendors and fabricators and operations and maintenance organizations. This will mean literally thousands of jobs over the next 10 to 15 years.⿝

Neptune Wind plans to submit a nomination for its proposed lease area by Oct. 3, the Department of Interior⿿s deadline. To finance the project, Digate said discussions are taking place with ⿿a number of potential investors, including a strategic partner.⿝

Neptune expects to use a new portside facility in New Bedford, Mass., for some of the manufacturing and construction operations, and may also use facilities in Rhode Island at Quonset Point for some of the work.

Digate, a serial entrepreneur whose most recent venture was web-conferencing application maker Convoq Inc. of Lexington, was a fellow with the New England Clean Energy Council in 2009.

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