Block Island Wind Farm awarded first of two state permits
THE R.I. DEPARTMENT of Environmental Management has awarded Deepwater Wind LLC the first of two state permits required to begin on-site construction for the Block Island Wind Farm. Above, a rendering of one of the proposed wind turbines.
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management has issued water quality certificates to Deepwater Wind LLC, deeming the company’s Block Island Wind Farm project to be in compliance with state wildlife protection regulations and the Clean Water Act.
The certificate includes stipulations protecting important marine species, ensuring compliance with environmental and safety standards, and requiring proper installation methods for the wind farm’s underwater transmission cable. In addition, the DEM issued a freshwater wetland permit for onshore construction activities.
The permits move Deepwater’s Block Island Wind Farm nearer to launching on-site construction, as the company awaits the vote next week of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, which would award the second of two state permits required for the project.
“The approval of [the DEM] is a major step forward for the Block Island Wind Farm. Momentum for the project is strong and we are moving closer to having ‘steel in the water’,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a release. “We are proud to be leading the growth of this new American industry here in Rhode Island.”
In addition to the CRMC permit, Deepwater still needs to obtain federal approval from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Deepwater Wind expects to secure all remaining required permits this spring, according to the release.
The Block Island Wind Farm remains on course to become the first offshore wind farm in the United States, Deepwater said. This month, Deepwater received delivery of 15 wind turbine blades from its turbine supplier Alstom SA in Denmark, which began initial construction on the turbines in December.
Grybowski has said previously that he expects to begin local construction on the project in early 2015, with a target operational date of 2016.