block island wind farm

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The lead federal agency involved in the Block Island Wind Farm has embarked on a five-year study to examine the project’s environmental impact.

Deepwater Wind is still on schedule to complete the first construction phase of the Block Island Wind Farm, despite issues related to equipment reliability and worker safety. Contractors have about one more month of construction to go, according to Grover Fugate, the executive director of the Coastal Resources Management Council.

Fugate said Deepwater Wind has gotten its contractors to implement safety recommendations and replace inadequate equipment for choppy ocean conditions.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind has installed the first of five steel foundations for a wind farm that will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island. The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes. State and federal officials got an up-close look at construction for the first time yesterday. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza was with them, and she reports that Rhode Island has become an example for how to build renewable energy. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Federal and state officials take a boat trip this morning to check out the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm. The project has broad support from environmental groups, fishermen, the Narragansett tribe, and others. But it’s a point of contention for Block Island residents.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind started to put steel in the water this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. Island residents have mixed feelings about the construction.  

Susan Torrey lives on Block Island all year. She and her husband have been waiting to see visible signs of what is expected to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

“We kept looking around and hadn’t seen anything,” said Torrey. “And he came home [and said], ‘Guess what I saw?’ So we said, ‘Let’s go over to the Southeast Light and take a look.’ So we did!”


Gov. Gina Raimondo and members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation will meet with Deepwater Wind in Quonset Point today to announce local jobs associated with the construction of the Block Island Wind Farm. They'll also provide an outlook for growing this new industry in the state. 

They’ll tour Specialty Diving Services, where local welders are working on some of the components for the wind farm’s foundation. This local company is working as a sub-contractor for a company in Louisiana that is leading the construction of the wind farm’s steel jacket foundations. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The state’s management plan that zones offshore waters for renewable energy projects is getting an update. The first public meeting for stakeholders is happening Thursday at the University of Rhode Island.

The Ocean Special Area Management Plan, or SAMP for short, is a planning tool that allows the state to balance both the economy and the environment as it pursues offshore energy projects. It includes about 15-hundred square miles of portions of Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.


More approvals rolled in this week for the five-turbine wind farm Deepwater Wind.  And  the company says it has secured the last of its permits for the offshore wind farm planned for three miles off the coast of Block Island.  Construction is set to start next year.

The Coastal Resources Management Council has approved the lease agreement for the underwater land on which the wind farm will sit. The lease took effect earlier this month and will be valid for 25 years from the wind farm’s start date.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Federal regulators have cleared the way for a transmission cable linking Block Island to Rhode Island’s mainland.  It's big step forward for Deepwater Wind’s offshore wind farm.  

The decision for the “right-of-way grant” marks a major milestone – not just for the Block Island Wind Farm project itself – but also for offshore renewable energy in the United States. The cable, which would cross federal waters, would do two things: connect Block Island to the ocean wind farm 3 miles off the island’s coast, and transmit energy between the mainland and the island.

RIPR File Photo

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has granted Deepwater Wind its first set of major permit approvals for the Block Island Wind Farm. This marks a significant milestone for the project.

The DEM has deemed the wind farm and underwater transmission cable in compliance with state and federal water quality regulations. So it issued the company Water Quality Certificates. The DEM also issued a Freshwater Wetland permit for certain onshore construction activities. 

Catherine Welch / RIPR

A subcommittee of the Coastal Resources Management Council will hold another hearing today on Deepwater Wind's permit application to build a wind farm off the coast of Block Island.

This is the second of three scheduled hearings this month.

Copyright: Alstom / Nicolas Jobs

Deepwater Wind has selected a Norwegian company to carry and install the turbines for the Block Island offshore wind farm project. This is the second contract Deepwater has awarded recently.

The Norwegian company, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, is supplying what’s called a liftboat to install the wind turbines. The liftboat, called the Bold Tern, has a large open deck and cranes robust enough to manage the weight and size of a wind turbine while at sea.


Deepwater Wind selected the French company Alstom to supply its wind turbines for the Block Island offshore wind farm project.

According to a company press release, Deepwater Wind made an initial multi-million dollar payment to Alstom back in December, so that the French manufacturer could begin to build the turbines.

Alstom will supply Deepwater Wind with five 6 megawatt turbines, including tower sections for the wind farm. Construction of the turbines marks a major milestone for the project.


A subcommittee of the Coastal Resources Management Council will hold its first public hearing today on Deepwater Wind’s permit application to build an off-shore wind farm in Rhode Island waters.

The hearing is the first of two scheduled for this month.

Deepwater proposes to build a wind farm with five turbines, 3 miles southeast of Block Island, and an underwater transmission cable that would run from Block Island to the Rhode Island mainland.


The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council says it does not object with the wind farm projects off Block Island proposed by developer Deepwater Wind.

Four CRMC staff members shared this position, along with 17 recommended stipulations, in a 53-page staff report earlier this week in advance of a public hearing on the project’s permit application next week.