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Block Island Wind Farm Concludes Offshore Construction for the Season

December 2015 - The Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm wrapped up offshore installation activities for the winter after completing the foundations for its wind turbines and installing the final deck platform in early December.

ESS Group, Inc. is providing third party environmental compliance monitoring (ECM) for the pilot project, which is the first offshore wind farm in the US. It will consist of five wind turbines capable of generating 30 MW of energy, located three miles off Block Island’s coast.

Offshore installation activities will recommence in summer 2016, although onshore work, such as turbine assembly and critical utility work, will continue through the winter.

During construction, ESS is tasked with ensuring that activities meet the stringent expectations of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

“ESS is serving as the eyes for the three agencies,” said Matt Robertson, Lead Environmental Compliance Monitor for the project. “It’s been going great so far. The environmental compliance monitoring has been well executed, and we have been an effective liaison between the contractors and State and Federal agencies as we facilitate communication to ensure permit compliance.”

ESS was jointly selected by The Narragansett Electric Company (d/b/a National Grid) and Deepwater Wind. The selection was approved by the CRMC, RIDEM, and USACE because of the firm’s extensive experience in marine construction logistics, compliance coordination, and planning. Additionally, ESS has been involved with the analysis and permitting of offshore wind energy projects and submarine cable installations for more than 15 years. 

ESS is also monitoring the installation of the Sea2Shore: The Renewable Link (previously known as the Block Island Transmission System), a bi-directional cable system that will allow the windfarm to transmit its produced energy onto the mainland, as well as transmit electricity from the mainland back to Block Island. The 20-mile long submarine cable will run from Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island to Crescent Beach on Block Island.

"This is the first offshore windfarm in the US, right here in the waters of the smallest state,” adds Project Manager Stephanie Wilson. “It's been great to see the recognition Rhode Island has received nationwide for its contribution to wind energy development."

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