The federal government is now accepting public comments on a draft report detailing the environmental impacts of Revolution Wind, a proposed 100-turbine scale wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island that is vying to be the first offshore wind farm to supply power to Connecticut.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Sept. 2 and will be accepting comments through Oct. 17.
The 2,386-page document assesses “potential biological, socioeconomic, physical and cultural impacts,” of all stages of the commercial-scale project. It examines potential impacts and explores alternatives to reducing those impacts in categories from marine mammals to vessel navigation.
BOEM is expected to take into consideration public comments as it works towards a final version of the document and the decision whether to approve or disapprove the project.
Revolution Wind is a joint venture of Denmark-based Ørsted and utility company Eversource, the same team contributing to the state’s $255 million reconstruction of State Pier in New London. Starting next year, State Pier will become the staging and assembly area for Ørsted and Eversource’s offshore wind projects, starting with the 12-turbine South Fork Wind off Long Island and eventually including Revolution Wind. Onshore construction for South Fork Wind has already started.
Revolution Wind, which has yet to obtain state and federal permits and faces opposition from commercial fishermen, is slated to be operational by 2025.
Ørsted and Eversource, in a joint statement, called the release of the draft EIS a major milestone for a project that will provide 304 megawatts of power to Connecticut and 400 MW to Rhode Island. In total, the 704 megawatts is enough electricity to power 350,000 homes.
“This critical project is now one step closer to delivering enough clean, renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes throughout the region and playing a key role in helping both Rhode Island and Connecticut meet their ambitious clean energy goals,” Ørsted and Eversource said in the joint statement.
Towards its goal of transitioning to zero-carbon energy by the year 2040, Connecticut has to date contracted for 1,108 megawatts of offshore wind power. In addition to Revolution Wind, the state has a contract for 804 megawatts of offshore wind energy from Park City Wind, equal to about 14% of the state’s energy or 400,000 homes. Park City Wind is a project by Avangrid Renawables, and would be constructed in waters 22 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.
In New London, work is ongoing at State Pier under the management of the Connecticut Port Authority. The project is expected to be completed by March of 2023, in time to accommodate work for the South Fork Wind project.
The port authority last month announced that contractors were having some difficulty driving piles at State Pier because of rocks. The issue had impeded progress in several stages of the construction which includes installation of a series of walls and heavy lift platforms to accommodate loads from incoming ships.
The port authority has not announced a delay in the expected completion date of the project or an increase in costs. The construction manager for the project, AECOM, in an update to the port authority’s board last month, said contractors brought in more equipment to the site and anticipated working longer hours to address the issues.
The details of the work are still being assessed and negotiated, said Andrew Lavigne, the port authority’s manager of business development and special projects. He said an update is expected to be presented to the board at the authority's October meeting.
For the BOEM Draft Environmental Impact Statement and links for more information visit: tinyurl.com/3wmh26nt
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