Deepwater Wind Launches Comprehensive Marine Survey For Block Island Offshore Wind Farm

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Deepwater Wind has launched a month-long marine survey off the shores of Block Island as part of the development of its Block Island Wind Farm. The marine survey will create a 3D map of the seafloor where the wind farm and transmission cable will be installed.

In conjunction with this announcement, Deepwater Wind also says it is adding Robert Billington, a marine construction veteran, to lead the project's construction team. Accordingly, Bryan Wilson, Deepwater Wind's liaison to Block Island, will be promoted to project manager and will be responsible for overseeing on-island operations and public engagement.

This week, Deepwater Wind began a series of intensive marine surveys as part of the company's environmental assessment to support the development of the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm and the associated transmission system that will connect the island to the mainland electric grid.

The team of up to 12 surveyors – including trained engineers, biologists, a marine archaeologist and a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe – is working to collect geophysical, geotechnical, archaeological and seafloor data. Technology such as SONAR, depth finders and magnetometers will assist the team in its data collection.

The purpose of the project is to collect data about the seafloor and the layers of soil beneath it to help determine the precise locations for the turbine foundations, the cable that will connect the Block Island Wind Farm to Block Island, and the cable that will connect the island to the mainland grid.

Deepwater Wind is also assessing whether the planned locations of the wind farm and the cables will need to be rerouted if obstacles – such as undersea boulders, shipwrecks, evidence of Native American settlements or sensitive benthic habitats – are discovered.

Once the survey is complete, Deepwater Wind will have a precise, 3D image of the seafloor and the sub-layers several meters below. Later this fall, the company will conduct surveys of the planned onshore route of the cables on both Block Island and the mainland. The cables need to interconnect with existing Block Island Power Co. and National Grid transmission facilities.

Meanwhile, Deepwater Wind continues to collect wind, avian and bat data from the radar systems and meteorological mast it had previously deployed on Block Island.

The company plans to submit permit applications to federal and state agencies in the first quarter of 2012.

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