Deepwater Wind Block Island, LLC, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Deepwater Wind Holdings, LLC, proposes to develop the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF), a 30-megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm located on average approximately 3 miles (mi) (4.8 kilometers [km])1 southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island. The BIWF will consist of five, 6-MW wind turbine generators (WTGs), a submarine cable interconnecting the WTGs (Inter-Array Cable), and a 34.5-kilovolt (kV) transmission cable from the northernmost WTG to an interconnection point on Block Island (Export Cable). In connection with the BIWF, Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission, LLC, also a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Deepwater Wind Holdings, LLC, proposes to develop the Block Island Transmission System (BITS), a 34.5-kV alternating current (AC) bi-directional submarine transmission cable that will run up to approximately 21.8 miles (35.1 km) from Block Island to the Rhode Island mainland. The BITS will be capable of delivering power both to and from the Rhode Island mainland.
The BIWF is located entirely within Rhode Island state territorial waters. The BIWF WTGs, Inter-Array Cable, and a portion of the Export Cable are located within the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Zone established by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). The offshore BITS cable is located within Rhode Island state territorial waters and in federal waters on the outer continental shelf (OCS).
Deepwater Wind has prepared this ER to support the environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended (42 USC 4321 et seq.), as well as the environmental analysis required as part of other federal, state, and local approvals and consultations for the Project. The location of the WTG Array within the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Zone reflects substantial efforts undertaken with the involvement of agencies and stakeholders to choose a site that minimizes the potential impact on natural resources (benthic ecology, birds, marine mammals, sea turtles, fisheries resources, and habitat) and existing human uses (commercial and recreational fishing, cultural and historic sites, recreation and tourism, marine transportation, navigation and infrastructure). Deepwater Wind has taken further action to design a Project that avoids, minimizes, or mitigates effects to environmental resources.