Coast Guard plans safety zone around 2016 Block Island Wind Farm construction

The U.S. Coast Guard will in the Feb. 16 Federal Register propose to establish a 500-yard safety zone around each of five locations where the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) wind turbine generator (WTG) towers, nacelles, blades and subsea cables will be installed in the navigable waters of the Rhode Island Sound, Rhode Island, from April 1 to October 31, 2016.

These safety zones are intended to safeguard mariners from the hazards associated with construction of the project. Vessels would be prohibited from entering into, transiting through, mooring, or anchoring within these safety zones while construction vessels and associated equipment are present at any of the project sites, unless authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP), Southeastern New England or the COTP’s designated representative.

The Coast Guard will take comment on this proposal for 30 days.

On Jan. 6, 2016, the Coast Guard was notified by Deepwater Wind Inc., the developer of the Block Island Wind Farm, that the second phase of construction activities are planned from April 1 to October 31, 2016, to install turbines, nacelles, blades, and subsea cables at each of the five WTG sites. The Coast Guard published a safety zone regulation, similar to this proposed rule, which applied to the first phase (installation of foundations) of construction of the BIWF in 2015. The Coast Guard is now proposing a similar rule for the second phase of BIWF construction.

In other developments for this project:

  • ISO New England said on Feb. 11 that 6.8 MW from the first offshore wind farm under construction in the U.S. cleared its latest forward capacity auction, which is Deepwater Wind’s facility off Block Island; and
  • U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined other dignitaries at the July 2015 official construction kick-off for the 30-MW Block Island Wind project. The participating officials called it a historic “steel in the water” milestone for America’s first commercial scale offshore wind power project. Deepwater Wind is constructing a five-turbine, 30-MW wind facility in state waters about three nautical miles southeast of Block Island. At 589 feet above sea level, the turbines will be among the tallest in the world. The project, scheduled to be online in 2016, is expected to power about 17,000 homes.
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.