Deepwater Wind?s Block Island Wind Farm Files for Final Project Permits

Published Oct 3, 2012 4:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

From birds to bats, whales to undersea rocks: Deepwater Wind invests over $7 million in the most thorough study ever conducted of a U.S. offshore wind farm

Deepwater Wind announced that it has submitted its final state and federal permit applications for the Block Island Wind Farm. The voluminous collection of data represents the most comprehensive study of the environmental impacts of an offshore wind farm in the U.S.

Deepwater Wind filed its permit applications with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, the three public agencies with primary jurisdiction over the development of the Block Island Wind Farm and its associated underwater transmission system.

The documents are available on the Block Island Wind Farm page.

“We’re excited to share our findings,” said Deepwater Wind CEO William M. Moore. “The filing of our permit applications represents a significant milestone toward development of the groundbreaking Block Island Wind Farm.”

Deepwater Wind invested more than $7 million – all private dollars – in the effort, which involved dozens of experts such as biologists and ecologists with expertise in avian, marine mammal and fish species and their habitats; terrestrial and marine archaeologists; electrical, civil, structural, acoustic and marine engineers; architects; wetlands scientists; statisticians; and many others.

Based on this intensive, three-year data collection effort, Deepwater Wind believes that there are no environmental impediments to building and operating the wind farm and transmission cable in the designated locations.

The exhaustive effort involved data collection from airplanes, ocean-going survey vessels, and remote-operated vehicles on the sea floor. Deepwater Wind also operated a high-tech avian radar system on Block Island near the historic Southeast Light for three years, and conducted field investigations on Block Island and the mainland. These efforts built on the work of the Ocean Special Area Management Plan, the groundbreaking data collection and planning effort led by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.

The Army Corps, BOEM and the CRMC will review the applications. The public will have the opportunity to provide comment to the reviewing agencies in the coming weeks. Deepwater Wind expects this final stage of the permitting process to be resolved by early 2013.

Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, a 30-megawatt demonstration-scale offshore wind farm, will be connected to both Block Island and mainland Rhode Island via the bi-directional Block Island Transmission System (BITS).

The five-turbine wind farm, located in state waters about three miles off the Block Island coast, is on target to be the nation’s first offshore energy project.