BOEM Seeks to Gauge Industry Interest in Proposed Rhode Island Wind Energy Transmission System

05-22-2012 Washington, D.C.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today issued a request to determine whether there is competitive interest in the construction of a transmission system between the Rhode Island coastline and Block Island, an important step in evaluating a transmission project proposed by Deepwater Wind that would deliver electrical power from its proposed 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in state waters.  

BOEM received an application from Deepwater Wind requesting a right-of-way grant for an eight nautical mile-long, 200-foot wide corridor in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf to connect their proposed offshore wind farm, located in Rhode Island state waters approximately 2.5 nautical miles southeast of Block Island, to the Rhode Island mainland. The proposed offshore transmission connection would also transmit power from the existing onshore transmission grid to Block Island.  

Before reviewing the OCS right-of-way application, BOEM must determine whether there are other developers interested in constructing transmission facilities in the same area.  The majority of the activities and permanent structures related to the entire wind farm project will be sited in state waters and on state lands, which means that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be the lead federal agency for analyzing the potential environmental effects of the project under the National Environmental Policy Act.   

“As companies continue to plan wind energy generation projects off of Rhode Island and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, it is critical that we also remain focused on developing the infrastructure that will bring that power to the grid,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “Transmission projects like this one have the potential to play an important role in bringing clean electricity to our homes and communities, as part of the Obama Administration’s all of the above energy strategy.” 

If BOEM receives indications of competitive interest from qualified entities in response to today’s notice, the bureau may decide to move forward with the right-of-way grant issuance process using competitive procedures. BOEM will continue to consult with the state task force and partners regarding the proposed transmission project.   

In addition to determining competitive interest for commercial activities in the right-of-way area, the bureau is providing an opportunity for the public and interested stakeholders to provide comments on the Deepwater Wind right-of-way request, including information relating to potential effects on the environment and marine habitats; geological and geophysical conditions (including bottom and shallow hazards); archaeological, historic, and/or cultural resources; and the multiple uses that exist in the area, including commercial and recreational fishing. 

A map of the area proposed for a ROW grant is online at:  http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/Rhode-Island.aspx

The request for competitive interest is available today through the Federal Register’s website at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.  

Indication of interest in acquiring a right-of-way grant for the area requested by Deepwater Wind must be submitted by mail to: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170. 

The public may submit comments through http://www.regulations.gov.   In the entry titled “Enter Keyword or ID,” enter BOEM-2012-0009, and then click “search.”  Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this notice.   

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore energy and mineral resources. The Bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy production, and environmental protection through oil and gas leasing, renewable energy development and environmental reviews and studies.