Chief Development Officer Paul Rich to leave post at Deepwater Wind

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 6:00pm

Paul Rich, Deepwater Wind's Chief Development Officer for Rhode Island, has left his post with the company this week after two and a half years, said Deepwater's Block Island liaison Bryan Wilson on Thursday.

"I have decided to move on to explore new opportunities," Rich said. "We have successfully met many of the initial development challenges [of the Block Island wind farm]. I am proud of what we've done and where the project stands today."

Rich's move comes at a time when the company will be entering a new stage of the project to install a wind farm within three miles of Block Island's southern shore. It will begin to submit applications for several state and federal permits to erect the proposed wind turbines.

With the project moving into the permitting phase by early next year, Rich said the tasks he had been given to bring the Block Island wind farm to fruition were completed. Over the coming months and years, permitting and design experts will take center stage, said Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President for Strategy and External Affairs Jeffrey Grybowski.

"This is a natural progression of the project from one phase to the next," Grybowski said. "We have completed the early stage of development and [Rich] has been a great asset in getting [Deepwater] to where it is today."

Rich has become well known around Block Island, often appearing at different island boards and committees to give updates on the wind farm. Grybowski said that he expected Rich would move on to a similar project still in its early phases, which he said was Rich's forte. Deepwater will not be replacing Rich, but will transition some of his responsibilities to other Deepwater employees, said Grybowski, who expressed confidence about the project's future.

"We're still full steam ahead," he said. "We are devoting over one million dollars in resources to complete several marine studies, which will begin this fall."

The discussion over Rich's departure began after the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Deepwater Wind on an appeal of the Power Price Agreement approved by the Public Utilities Commission in 2010, when it became clear that the project would be going forward with permitting. Now that he has left Rich continues to be optimistic about the Block Island project saying that he "can't wait to see it built."

"Like a carpenter building a house, when it is done it's an opportunity to step back and take stock of what you've accomplished," Rich said. "I will be leaving with a mix of happiness, a recognition of the great work we've done and the strong relationship we've built with the island."

According to his Deepwater Wind biographical information, Paul had previously served as Chief Development Officer for Cross Hudson Cable LLC and the Neptune Regional Transmission System project. He has also helped to manage projects on energy issues from co-generation to hydrogen fuel cells. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and earned a masters from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

"We wish [Rich] well and congratulate him on everything he has accomplished on this project," Grybowski said. "I'm sure he will be doing some very exciting things in this industry in the future."