Revolution Wind farm plan moves ahead

Plan would see as many as 100 turbines 15 miles off Little Compton shores

By Ted Hayes
Posted 9/30/22

Even as the Mayflower Wind project faces concern here over the routing of its electric cables up the Sakonnet River, a second project that could have a greater visual impact on the coast from …

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Revolution Wind farm plan moves ahead

Plan would see as many as 100 turbines 15 miles off Little Compton shores

Posted

Even as the Mayflower Wind project faces concerns here over the routing of its electric cables up the Sakonnet River, a second project that could have a greater visual impact on the coast  is moving through the regulatory process and could be built out by 2025.

While the Mayflower project's turbines will be built far offshore, about 30 miles south of Nantucket, the proposed 100-turbine Revolution Wind site is located about 15 miles south of Little Compton and about nine southwest of Nomans Land.

The 873-foot turbines would be visible along much of the coast, from South Shore Beach, Sakonnet Point and the Goosewing Preserve in Little Compton, Gooseberry Island and the whole of the Westport coast, to Sachuest Point in Middletown, Ocean Drive in Newport, Beavertail and Block Island.

The farm would be the first "utility scale" wind farm in Rhode Island, and would provide up to 704 megawatts of energy, about 40 percent less than the 1,200-megawatt Mayflower project would generate. Of that, 304 megawatts would go to Connecticut and 400 to Rhode Island, which has pledged to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Under the joint venture between Eversource, a United States energy company, and Ørsted, a Danish firm with US offices in Providence, power generated would run via underwater cables to the Davisville substation at North Kingstown, which is owned and operated by the Narragansett Electric Company/National Grid.

The partnership would pay $77.5 million of a $157 million public/private effort to re-develop the New London State Pier. An additional $40 million would go to Rhode Island's port infrastructure, with improvements to ProvPort, Quonset and State Pier.

Impact statement

In early September, the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released a 2,378-page draft environmental impact statement on the project, and the public has until later this month to comment (see below).

The lengthy report goes over scores of potential impacts and results from the project, and examine's the project's possible impact on fishing and tourism, submerged archaeological and other resources, the ocean habitat, marine species migration and behavior, the economy, infrastructure, and historical structures and places along the Rhode Island coast, Buzzards Bay and Martha's Vineyard. 

Visually, the BOEM concludes among many findings that the project will have an "adverse affect" on scores of properties and waterfront areas, though the draft impact statement presents mitigation strategies.

What's next?

The public has until Monday, Oct. 17 to comment on the impact statement, and correspondence received before the deadline will go into the preparation of a final environmental impact statement.

To read the draft statement, visit boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/revolution-wind.

As part of the comment period, two public meeting have already been held, one on Martha's Vineyard and another in East Greenwich. A third will be held this Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Keith Middle School in New Bedford. To register, visit boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/revolution-wind.

In addition, a virtual meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11. To register, visit boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/revolution-wind.

What's next?

The public has until Monday, Oct. 17 to comment on the impact statement, and correspondence received before the deadline will go into the preparation of a final environmental impact statement.

As part of the comment period, two public meeting have already been held, one on Martha's Vineyard and another in East Greenwich. A third will be held this Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Keith Middle School in New Bedford. To register, click here

In addition, a virtual meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11. To register, click here.

Timeline

• Monday, Oct. 17: Comment period concludes

• Oct. 18-Dec. 19: Revised MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) will be sent to consulting parties. Parties, including the Towns of Tiverton, Little Compton, Portsmouth and Westport, among many other towns and entities, were invited last year to consult.

• February-April 2023: Final MOA sent to consulting parties

• June 2, 2023: Final environmental impact statement released.

• June 2 through July 3, 2023: Thirty-day comment period.

• July 7, 2023: Decision reached by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

• 2025: Estimated project completion date.

2022 by East Bay Media Group

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