Deepwater Wind says it has received the first major environmental permit approvals needed to begin deployment of its Block Island Wind Farm, a 30 MW offshore wind demonstration project located off the coast of Block Island, R.I.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) has issued Deepwater Wind water quality certificates. The developer says the permits deem the project and its transmission system in compliance with state water quality regulations and the Clean Water Act. These regulations ensure the protection of fish and wildlife, as well as the recreational use and navigation of Rhode Island inland and coastal waters, Deepwater explains.
Furthermore, RIDEM issued the project a freshwater wetland permit for certain onshore construction activities.
"The approval of RIDEM 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,'" says Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. "We appreciate RIDEM's thoughtful consideration of this project, and we're confident that we'll soon secure the remaining state and federal permits."
Deepwater Wind must next obtain an assent from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, as well as approvals from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Deepwater says each permit application has undergone extensive review and public comment, and the developer expects to secure all remaining permits this spring.
Deepwater says the Block Island project remains on schedule and expects the wind farm to be in operation in 2016. Earlier this year, the developer selected Alstom as the project's turbine supplier and long-term maintenance and service provider. This month, Alstom delivered 15 wind turbine blades.