(OE) The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Tuesday approved the construction of a 704-megawatt (MW) wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, the fourth major offshore wind project the agency has greenlit as the Biden administration tries to meet a goal of bringing 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power online by 2030.
The Revolution Wind project about 15 nautical miles southeast of Point Judith, R.I. is being developed by Eversource and Ørsted as Rhode Island and Connecticut’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm, potentially powering more than 250,000 homes and creating 1,200 local jobs during the construction phase.
The project includes up to 79 possible locations for the installation of 65 wind turbines and two offshore substations.Once online, the project will deliver 400 MW of offshore wind power to Rhode Island and 304 MW to Connecticut.
“Revolution Wind will be key to Rhode Island and Connecticut’s clean energy future, and we’re grateful for the leadership from the Biden Administration, as well as our state partners and federal delegations, to grow the region’s offshore wind sector,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted. “With the federal Record of Decision, we now advance Revolution Wind to the construction phase, bringing good-paying jobs to hundreds of local union construction workers, keeping local ports busy with assembly and marshaling activities and further growing the local supply chain. We’re excited to get to work building this important project.”
“After years of careful planning, today, we celebrate the beginning of Revolution Wind’s transition from a dream to a reality,” said Joe Nolan Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Eversource Energy. “Having reached this important milestone, in the coming weeks we will begin onshore construction on this critical clean energy project, which will produce enough renewable energy to power more than 350,000 homes in Rhode Island and for our customers in Connecticut. We are thrilled to be getting the next phase of this project started, as we continue to deliver on our promise of investing in local communities and creating jobs for workers in the industries of tomorrow, today.”
BOEM’s issuance of the record of decision (ROD) includes an extensive range of measures aimed at avoiding, minimizing and mitigating the potential impacts that may result from the construction and operation of the project. Among them, Revolution Wind has committed to establishing fishery mitigation funds to compensate losses directly arising from the project incurred by recreational and commercial fisheries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and to creating a direct compensation program to reimburse lost revenues for fisheries from other states. Additionally, Revolution Wind has committed to measures such as vessel speed restrictions and construction clearance zones to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles, and Atlantic sturgeon.
The ROD precedes the anticipated approval of Revolution Wind’s construction and operations plan (COP) in November.
Revolution Wind remains on track to begin onshore construction activities in the coming weeks, with offshore construction ramping up in 2024. The project is expected to be operational in 2025.
Revolution Wind is the United States’ fourth commercial-scale offshore wind energy project to received a ROD from BOEM, joining the Vineyard Wind project offshore Massachusetts, the South Fork Wind project offshore Rhode Island and New York, and the Ocean Wind 1 project offshore New Jersey.
With today’s milestone, BOEM said it remains on track to complete reviews of at least 16 offshore wind project plans by 2025, representing more than 27 gigawatts of clean energy.
“President Biden has set an ambitious goal of achieving 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – and I am more confident than ever that we will meet it. Together with industry, labor and partners from coast to coast, we are building an entirely new industry off the east and west and Gulf coasts,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Interior Department is committed to the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to the clean energy future and delivering clean, reliable renewable energy to help respond to the climate crisis, lower energy costs, and create good-paying union jobs across the manufacturing, shipbuilding and construction sectors.”
“Today’s approval is not the end of our work on this project,” Haaland added. “We will continue to maintain open communication and frequent collaboration with federal partners, Tribal Nations, states, industry and ocean users to address potential challenges to and identify opportunities for the continued success of the U.S. offshore wind industry.”