Block Island one step closer to a wind farm

PROVIDENCE, RI – A proposed wind farm off Block Island has passed a major regulatory hurdle.

Deepwater Wind's demonstration-sized project would construct five wind turbines off Block Island. The project would connect the island to the grid for the first time in the island's history. But to connect the power from the turbines to the mainland and the island, requires a long transmission line so long that it crosses 8 nautical miles of Federal Ocean. And because it crosses into federal waters, the plan needs to jump over federal regulatory hurdles. One such hurdle includes proof that no one else wanted to build a similar transmission line across those same federal waters.

And that's where the news is at. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Maureen Bornholdt says her agency has determined that no, no other entity wants to do it. So Deepwater Wind can move ahead with the next step in the project. "The company basically has the exclusive right to file a right of way grant for this area."

Bornholdt says that it's just one more step in a series of steps to bring the five-turbines into existence. The Bureau's latest decision allows Deepwater Wind to move ahead with the next step in the project a "right-of-way" for the transmission line. Deepwater's CEO hailed the decision. He says the project will jumpstart offshore wind energy on the east coast.

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