The Nation’s First Offshore Wind FarmBlock Island Wind Farm, Rhode Island, USA
INSPIRE scientists have worked side-by-side with Deepwater Wind (now Ørsted) to address the environmental challenges associated with permitting the nation’s first offshore wind farm since the project’s inception. With operation beginning on December 12, 2016, the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) is the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
INSPIRE scientists supported the development and implementation of Deepwater Wind’s Marine Work Plan and permitting strategy for BIWF, leading with innovative approaches for benthic assessment and fisheries monitoring. INSPIRE’s SPI and PV imaging were used to assess the benthic habitat and to ground-truth the geological and geophysical survey results at Block Island.
This cost effective and data intense approach is now widely accepted by BOEM and other regulatory agencies. We are now in our 7th year of fisheries monitoring at the site, having pioneered an approach that effectively connects the developer with the fishing community to produce defensible results that satisfy multiple stakeholders. We also designed and conducted technical studies to address concerns related to cable routing, sensitive eelgrass habitat, hardbottom habitat, lobsters, recreational boating, and NEPA documentation. With the current growth in offshore wind energy, INSPIRE is successfully applying this experience to projects along the U.S. eastern seaboard from Massachusetts to North Carolina for Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and other developers.