Deepwater farm could get final fed. approval in July

Deepwater Wind’s five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm could get final approval on its federal permits in July, Michael Elliott, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the wind farm, told Providence Business News Friday. More

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Deepwater farm could get final fed. approval in July

COURTESY DEEPWATER WIND
A LIFT BOAT OFF BLOCK ISLAND does geological sampling for Deepwater Wind's Block Island Wind Farm. At the time of this 2009 photo, the Louisiana-based company Montco Offshore, expected to begin installing wind turbines in 2013. So far, the 100-turbine Block Island Wind Farm is still in the permitting process.
Posted 6/12/14

PROVIDENCE – Deepwater Wind’s five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm could get final approval on its federal permits in July, Michael Elliott, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the wind farm, told Providence Business News on June 13.

“Since the CRMC gave its OK and DEM issued their certificates, we expect to issue the permits in July, if we have all the documentation and memorandum of agreements in,” said Elliott. “Those agreements deal with some historic issues, as well as some environmental issues, mostly about marine life or navigation details,” said Elliott.

The R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council voted unanimously May 13 to grant final approval to the Block Island Wind Farm.

Earlier in May, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management issues water quality certificates deeming Deepwater Wind to be in compliance with state wildlife protection regulations and the Clean Water Act.

The DEM permit and the CRMC approval constituted completion of the state permit requirements for the project.

The Corps of Engineers is the lead federal agency on the Block Island Wind Farm, coordinating requirements and approvals from a host of other agencies.

Final agreements are still due from the R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, the Narragansett Tribe, the Wampanoag Aquinnah Tribe on Martha’s Vineyard and from the National Park Service, related to the Block Island Southeast Light, said Elliott.

Approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is also still pending, required because the cable transmission system crosses through federal waters, he said.

“I’m drafting our permits to authorize the structures when we have all the concurrences,” said Elliott.

The permits, when finalized, will include many stipulations and requirements from other agencies.

“I have 20 pages of special conditions from various agencies,” said Elliott.

The project is divided into two parts for permitting, one for the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm and one for the transmission system from Block Island to Narragansett.

In April, the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers approved the sale of Deepwater Wind’s cable transmission system for the Block Island Wind Farm to National Grid for $9.5 million. The sale came after an agreement between the parties, in large part based on National Grid’s experience with construction of underwater transmission systems.

If the remaining federal details are finalized and the Corps of Engineers permits issued in July, Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm will take another major step forward toward becoming the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.

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