The Quonset Development Corporation (QDC), a subsidiary of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was awarded a $22.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the US Department of Transportation, Governor Donald L. Carcieri has announced.
According to a report on the Gov Monitor Web site, the grant will support wind energy manufacturing and logistical operations and improve marine highway infrastructure at the Quonset Business Park. The QDC is just one of 45 TIGER grant recipients from more than 1,500 applications.
“This is a tremendous boost to our ongoing efforts to make Quonset the nation’s hub in renewable energy and offshore wind industries, and to achieve our goal of 20 percent of energy use from renewable sources by 2020,” said Gov. Carcieri. “The $22.3 million TIGER grant will expedite much needed infrastructure improvements to the Quonset pier to support Deepwater Wind’s plans to construct the nation’s first offshore, deepwater wind project.”
The grant includes infrastructure improvements to the Port of Davisville piers and terminals in the Business Park. The projects are designed to further support Quonset’s role as a hub for the emerging wind energy industry, with Deepwater Wind already on track to create regional off-shore wind farm manufacturing.
The federal funding will support a staging and launching facility at the Business Park. Infrastructure improvements requested to support the offshore wind project and short sea shipping initiative include: funding for a pier repairs, deck surfacing and marine hardware, rebuilding of rail tracks in the port area, terminal improvements, crane platforms and a crane suitable to load and off load windmill components as well as containers. Its purchase would also enable Quonset to take advantage of short sea shipping opportunities and participate in the U.S. Maritime Administration Marine Highway Northeast Corridor. It’s estimated the TIGER grant will aid in the creation of 500—800 jobs.
Deepwater Wind is actively planning two Rhode Island offshore wind projects: The Block Island Wind Farm, with up to eight wind turbines located three miles off the coast of Block Island, and the Rhode Island Offshore Wind Farm, a project that will be located 15 to 20 miles offshore. The Block Island Wind Farm is on target to become the nation’s first offshore wind farm. Together, the wind farms are expected to produce 15 percent of Rhode Island’s electricity needs. Deepwater Wind has leased 117 acres at Quonset Point for the development of its two proposed wind farms.