Articles filed under Offshore Wind 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.
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.
“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.
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.
Ørsted A/S — the Danish power company that acquired Block Island when it bought Deepwater Wind in 2018 — is bearing the cost of reburying the Block Island cable connecting its turbines to the island grid. Spokesperson Lauren Burm declined to disclose the cost of the full project. "The original cable was installed by a previous owner."
Gov. Gina Raimondo is looking to procure as much as 600 more megawatts of power generated by towering wind turbines that would rise up out of the ocean waters off southern New England. Her administration announced on Tuesday that National Grid, the state’s main energy utility, is working on a request for proposals from offshore wind developers that is on track to be released early next year.
National Grid, which owns the high-voltage power line from Block Island to Narragansett, expects to pay $30 million for its share of the reconstruction, which will require horizontal directional drilling. The state’s primary electric utility will recover the expense through an undetermined surcharge on ratepayers’ bills. ...The power line from the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm reaches shore at Fred Benson Town Beach and leaves New Shoreham for Narragansett at Crescent Beach to the north. But keeping portions of the cable buried at Crescent Beach has been a struggle.
A doozy of a fight played out at a Rhode Island State House hearing just before the pandemic shut down this year’s legislative session. It involved: Arsenic-laced “tunnel muck.”
Fugate said that if the PUC votes to have the companies pay for the project out of pocket, the decision would be litigated. In July 2019, however, Ørsted told The Block Island Times that it would pay for the re-installation and not pass the cost of the project off to the public. National Grid has stated to the paper in the past that the cost of reinstalling a section of its sea2shore cable might be shared by mainland and island ratepayers.
Doug Christel, a fishing policy analyst at NOAA, responded a week later. The federal agency had not been closely tracking the state process but had discussed Lapp's concerns, he said. "Similar to some of your comments, we feel the DEIS [draft environmental impact statement] underestimates landings from within the WDA," he wrote, referring to the wind development area leased by Vineyard Wind from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Little is known about how marine life will respond to the electromagnetic fields emanating from the spiderweb of cables carrying electricity from the Block Island Wind Farm and the many other offshore wind-power installations planned for the East Coast. But a new series of studies by a team of oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island suggests that some organisms will definitely be impacted.
Vineyard Wind already agreed to a nearly $17 million mitigation package in Rhode Island. But it doesn’t look like that will be enough. The fishing industry still has many issues. For example, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association is worried about the effect these giant towers could have on boat radar, and the impediments that transmission cables could cause.
Although the three commission members all voted to approve the agreement, they each acknowledged the risks associated with the wind farm and the uncertainties surrounding the benefits to electric customers. If the price of certificates representing the environmental benefits of renewable energy fails to increase as projected, then the contract could cost consumers in the long run, said commissioner Abigail Anthony. Additionally, much of the savings are expected to come on windy winter days when the wind farm is expected to displace more expensive oil generators or natural gas-burning plants that may charge a premium. If those savings are lower, the net benefits may be too, Anthony said.