Library from Rhode Island
The agency said negative impacts to commercial and recreational fishing would be “major” and found there would be “minor to moderate” beneficial impacts in terms of jobs and investment in the local economy. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the project, released on BOEM’s website Monday, Aug. 16, examines the potential environmental impacts of the proposal to build up to 15 wind turbines and an offshore substation in federal waters about 35 miles off the coast of Montauk. BOEM says in the FEIS that it prefers an alternative proposal to protect habitat by carefully siting just 11 turbines there.
Development of the South Fork Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island would have an overall "major" adverse impact on commercial fishing, according to a newly released federal study. Impacts to commercial fishing include navigational hazards from potential collisions, loss of fishing grounds and impacts from construction and operation, according to a final environmental impact statement released Monday by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Workers at the Merkur wind farm in the German North Sea found signs of stress fatigue on the support structures of the “helihoist” platforms on some of the project’s GE Haliade turbines. Power generation at the 396-megawatt array was temporarily halted to come up with a solution to the problem, but the wind farm has since come back online. In June, Ørsted said it had put the five-year-old Block Island Wind Farm “on pause as a precautionary safety measure” to see if similar problems had arisen with the platforms at the top of the turbines that equipment and workers can be lowered onto from helicopters.
Ørsted, the Danish energy company that purchased the wind farm from the original developers, Deepwater Wind, said that four of the five turbines were taken offline earlier this summer as a precaution after GE, the manufacturer of the 6-megawatt turbines, identified the stress lines in the turbines.
Ørsted, the company that owns the wind farm, tells 12 News they’re conducting routine maintenance on the turbines. Right now, a spokesperson said they’re in the process of repairing stress lines inside four of the turbines.
I spent the better part of a week trying to learn why and, after many not-returned phone calls and emails, I finally got a statement from a Rhode Island public relations firm that called the shutdown "ongoing routine summer maintenance" that is expected to continue for "the next few weeks."
This important research sheds critical light on the habitat of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale in relation to offshore wind lease areas. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
At the end of a contentious five-hour hearing on the South Fork Wind Farm on May 25, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council took up a motion by chairwoman Jennifer Cervenka. She wanted to direct the developers of the large offshore wind farm proposed in Rhode Island Sound to sit down one more time with local fishermen to talk about the creation of a fund to compensate them for fishing losses caused by the project. Ørsted and Eversource, partners on the 132-megawatt wind farm, had offered to pay into the fund over 30 years, making regular installments that would eventually total $12 million.
Gov. Dan McKee has vetoed a bill pushed by a single renewable-energy developer — and big political contributor — that could have shifted millions of dollars in the costs of solar and wind projects from developers to ratepayers.
“If the council certifies the project as consistent, it will make a mockery of the process,” Michael Jarbeau, baykeeper with the environmental group, said before the council vote. “This might be the correct project, but it is certainly not the correct location.” He quoted from an analysis from the council’s own staff that described the project site as “one of the worst possible locations within Rhode Island Sound” for the wind farm. “We agree,” Jarbeau said. “While we understand there are risks of habitat loss to meet wind energy goals, this project will disrupt some of the most valuable habitat in Rhode Island Sound.”
But the Fishermen's Advisory Board in Rhode Island is opposing the package, according to a report in the Providence Journal. A lawyer for the group, Marisa Desautel, said the group has "serious concerns with the lack of information provided by Orsted" about the mitigation fund, including Orsted's involvement in how it will be paid out. The compensation package, to be paid over 30 years (or reduced to $5.2 million if taken as an upfront payment), was below a scientific study that estimated potential losses to fishermen of $15 million to $40.4 million, according to the paper.
A board of fishermen that advises Rhode Island coastal regulators on offshore wind development has come out in opposition to state certification of the South Fork Wind Farm. A lawyer for the Fishermen’s Advisory Board said a recommendation by staff at the Coastal Resources Management Council that was agreed to by developers Ørsted and Eversource to reduce the number of turbines in the 132-megawatt project and set up a fishing compensation fund does not meet the concerns of board members.
PROVIDENCE — The developers of the South Fork Wind Farm are set to reduce the number of turbines from 15 to 12 in response to a request from Rhode Island coastal regulators who want to minimize disruption to the marine environment and the state’s fishing industry.
PROVIDENCE — Offshore wind developers have assured the commercial fishing industry all along that the thousands of massive turbines that they want to install in the ocean up and down the East Coast won’t block fishermen from waters where they make their living.
National Grid, encountering unforeseen problems, has suspended work on Block Island to replace part of an underwater cable that delivers electricity from the nation’s first offshore wind farm to the mainland power grid. ...“We need to assess what is causing these obstructions, how best to get the pipe cleared, and ultimately complete the installation with confidence in the fall,” Terry Sobolewski, president of National Grid Rhode Island, said in a statement. “We’d rather get it right in the fall than try to rush completion of it now.”
PROVIDENCE – At the request of Gov. Dan McKee, state coastal regulators are putting off a key decision on the South Fork Wind Farm to give the project developers more time to reach a compensation agreement with the fishing industry.
Wind turbines appear headed for a townwide ban in Foster after the Planning Board voted 5-1 to change the green energy ordinance to no longer allow the alternate energy sources in town last Wednesday. ...Sackal provided research, documentation, testimonies and written statements against wind turbines. He said an all-out ban is the best way to go, and the town can deal with potential litigation as it comes. “Once you let these things up, you have no control over what happens,” he said.
They knew that power from the Block Island Wind Farm would be expensive but were willing to pay the price in the hopes that the project would spur creation of a new clean-energy industry in the state. What they didn’t bargain for was that the wind farm would become a gold mine for an energy company that already had a dominant presence in Rhode Island: National Grid.
The town signed a public-private agreement with Ipswich Wind Independence LLC in 2011 to build Wind II (Wind I is town-owned). The town’s electric light department (ELD) agreed to buy power from the company, and the town also collected around $1.3 million in property tax. However, a fire in October 2018 knocked Wind II out of action. To complicate matters, there were rumors that Ipswich Wind Independence was in financial difficulties — and the town discovered no bond had been paid to ensure safe removal of the structure. The turbine was not repairable, as the manufacturer, Hyundai, had withdrawn from the turbine business.
PROVIDENCE — When representatives of Rhode Island’s fishing industry started negotiating with Ørsted and Eversource over compensation for impacts from the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, they had just come off a bruising battle with another offshore wind developer and were hoping for something better.