Feds to seek developers for wind farms off R.I.

The U.S. Department of Interior plans this summer to start formally seeking developers for wind farms situated in federal waters off Rhode Island. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.


Feds to seek developers for wind farms off R.I.

Posted 5/9/11

The U.S. Department of Interior plans this summer to start formally seeking developers for wind farms situated in federal waters off Rhode Island.

At a presentation at the University of Rhode Island last week, officials from the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement sketched out the process for leasing federal waters for wind farms. The bureau already knows that two companies have expressed informal interest in placing wind farms roughly halfway between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

Last year, Providence-based Deepwater Wind proposed a farm with 200 turbines, separate from a smaller farm it wants off Block Island in state waters. Massachusetts-based Neptune Wind also expressed interest in leasing some of the same federal waters, although the company has not publicly detailed its proposal.

Before requests can proceed, the bureau must finalize the solicitation request and the area up for potential development, said Maureen Bornholdt, a program manager at the bureau’s office of offshore alternative energy programs.

Currently, the bureau is considering offering the opportunity for leases in a roughly 300-square-mile area loosely based on an area identified by Rhode Island and Massachusetts officials as ripe for studying development proposals.

Bureau officials tweaked the boundaries and removed a section of water above unexplored military ordnance. Bornholdt expects more tweaks as the agency works with a raft of fellow federal agencies concerned about everything from protecting shipping lanes to preserving military training areas.

Officials also plan to overlay information about key environmental features on the seabed, which could become de facto exclusion areas for wind farm developers, who must pass a litany of environmental regulations before erecting turbines.

Bornholdt said the area is evolving as the bureau works through what is a relatively new process. The U.S. Department of the Interior received authority in 2005 to serve as the leasing agent for offshore wind farms. Officials did not finalize regulations until 2009. And so far, the agency has granted just one lease. The 28-year lease went to Cape Wind Associates, which plans to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

For waters off Rhode Island, a final request for projects is expected this summer. Once the bureau receives proposals, it will open a 45-day public comment period. There is no timeframe on how long agency officials will spend reviewing the comments before rendering a decision.

Next Page
PBN Hosted

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
    Latest News