Coast Guard clearing way for Block Island Wind Farm construction

Due to the start of project construction, the U.S. Coast Guard is temporarily establishing a 500-yard safety zone around each of five locations where the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) wind turbine generator (WTG) foundations will be constructed in the navigable waters of the Rhode Island Sound, R.I.

The Coast Guard said in a notice to be published in the July 16 Federal Register that these safety zones are intended to safeguard mariners from the hazards associated with construction of the BIWF WTG foundations. Vessels are prohibited from entering into, transiting through, mooring, or anchoring within these safety zones while construction vessels and associated equipment are present, unless authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP), Southeastern New England or the COTP’s designated representative.

This temporary rule is effective without actual notice from the July 16 publication in the Federal Register until Sept. 30, 2015.

On April 21, the Coast Guard published a proposed rulemaking entitled “Safety Zone, Block Island Wind Farm; Rhode Island Sound, RI” in the Federal Register. It received no comments on the rule. Under federal code, the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this temporary rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective that quickly because construction of the Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled to begin in early July, the environmental window within which construction can be conducted is short, and no comments opposing the safety zone were received in response to the April 21 notice of proposed rulemaking.

Deepwater Wind Block Island, a subsidiary of Deepwater Wind, announced March 2 that it has fully financed the Block Island Wind Farm, reaching financial close on more than $290 million in project financing provided by Mandated Lead Arrangers Societe Generale of Paris, France, and KeyBank National Association of Cleveland, Ohio. With these major agreements, Deepwater Wind said it has secured all debt and equity funding needed to construct and operate its 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm. The Block Island Wind Farm will be America’s first offshore wind farm.

“We’re ecstatic to reach financial close and thrilled to be partners with Societe Generale and KeyBank for this groundbreaking clean energy project,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski at the time. “We’re full speed ahead and moving ever closer to ‘steel in the water.’”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.