Field Observations During Wind Turbine Operations at the Block Island Wind Farm, Rhode Island BOEM2019-028


Key Researchers: James Elliott, Anwar A. Khan, Ying-Tsong Lin, Timothy Mason, James H. Miller, Arthur E. Newhall, Gopu R. Potty, Kathleen J. Vigness-Raposa

The Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF), which is located 2.8 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, began operation in December 2016.  Visual observations of the operating turbines, airborne noise monitoring, and underwater sound monitoring were conducted during the first year of operations.  Observations of the turbines were made from Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island (2.8 miles), Point Judith (16 mi) and Brenton State Park (24 mi).   Airborne noise from the operating turbines was monitored at Block Island and from a survey vessel.    Underwater acoustic signals were measured during winter (20 December 2016 to 7 January 2017) and late summer (2 October to 3 November 2017) conditions. In addition, extended underwater acoustic monitoring also was conducted over 100 days during summer 2017 (15 July to 24 October 2017).


Turbines were visible both during the day and at night at Brenton State Park (24 mi) under clear conditions. 

Airborne noise from the turbine operations was not detected at the onshore monitoring station on Block Island.

Underwater sound at 50 meters from the turbine were near background levels and often not measurable due to other natural and anthropogenic noise (waves or boat sounds). 

How BOEM will use this information

Inform mitigation of visual impacts from wind farm lighting

Address concerns about sound from operating turbines, both in the air and underwater