Revolution Wind, the Ørsted and Eversource venture to build up to 100 wind turbines off Rhode Island, is up for its next phase of public scrutiny with a draft environmental impact statement issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Planned for a federal lease about 15 nautical miles southeast of Point Judith, R.I., Revolution Wind would have a nameplate maximum potential power capacity between 704 megawatts and 880 MW, depending on final design and the turbine design chosen.
BOEM is publishing a notice of availability for the Revolution Wind environmental analysis in the Sept. 2 Federal Register, to start the clock on a 45-day public comment period until Oct. 17.
Commentary during the process will be considered for preparation of the final environmental impact statement, according to BOEM. That in turn will influence how the agency could shape and approve the developers’ construction and operations plan, and what mitigation measures the agency could requires for impacts on the environment and other ocean users.
“Collaborating with all stakeholders and ocean users throughout the leasing and development process is vital,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in announcing the notice. “We’re committed to maintaining open and transparent communication with all stakeholders, and value public input. BOEM is using the best available science as well as knowledge from ocean users and other stakeholders to avoid and minimize conflict with existing uses and marine life.”
Revolution Wind is following the start of the Vineyard Wind project to the east, and the South Forks Wind project 30 miles off Long Island’s East End. All three plans have drawn fierce opposition from commercial fishing advocates.
The Rhode Island squid fleet has been especially vocal with concerns that boats will not be able to safely fish if the wind turbine arrays are built, and worries the projects will disrupt ocean ecology.
“Offshore wind is the greatest existential threat to the U.S. commercial fishing industry right now,” said Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for squid processor Seafreeze Ltd. in Point Judith, R.I., in an Aug. 27 interview with Fox News.