Wind project to supply CT energy gets environmental OK

Revolution Wind, the offshore wind farm project southeast of Block Island that could power more than 350,000 southern New England homes, moved significantly closer to completion Monday when the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it had completed the project’s final environmental review.

“BOEM used the feedback we received from Tribal Nations, industry, ocean users, communities, and stakeholders to help inform our decisions throughout the environmental review process and ensure that we are addressing potential impacts,” Director Elizabeth Klein said. “This milestone represents another important step forward in building a new clean energy economy here in the United States.”

Revolution Wind, a joint venture by regional electric utility Eversource and the North American division of Orsted, a Danish multinational and global leader in offshore renewable energy, proposed a 100-turbine project capable of generating up to 880 megawatts of electricity.

With a $300M pier overhaul nearly complete, Connecticut looks to put New London at center of New England’s offshore wind industry

The bureau said in its announcement Monday that it had developed a “preferred alternative” that meets the power production goal, but utilizes 65 of the towering wind turbine generators.

There has been opposition to the wind projects for a variety of environmental and aesthetic reasons. Simulated images produced by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management suggest the turbines, hung on 300-foot towers, will be visible from southern Rhode Island, as well as Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

The bureau said it balanced “the needs and interests of everyone who may be affected by the development” when preparing the final environmental analysis. It said its preferred alternative would “meet energy needs by installing fewer wind turbines to reduce impacts to visual resources, benthic habitat, and allow for ocean co-use.”

The construction and supply base for Revolution Wind, and two other offshore wind projects, is the State Pier in New London, which has been rebuilt at a cost of more than $300 million.

The Eversource-Orsted partnership called issuance of the environmental analysis a “major milestone” and praised the administration of President Joe Biden for “its unwavering commitment to building the critical renewable energy infrastructure necessary to achieve our clean energy goals.”

“This essential project is already benefiting local communities, establishing a new, homegrown supply chain, and creating job opportunities for workers in the industries of tomorrow, today,” said Julia Bovey of Eversource.

Revolution Wind is one of three offshore wind projects being developed by the Eversource-Orsted partnership. The other two, planned for the same general area south of Rhode Island, are South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind.

The three projects are among about 20 now planned by a variety of groups on the continental shelf between Virginia and Maine

South Fork Wind is on track to be operational later this year and, if so, will be the first completed utility-scale offshore wind farm in federal waters.

South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind will deliver electricity to New York by cable to East Hampton on Long Island. Revolution Wind’s energy will reach the New England electric grid by cable to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and produce power for homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to Eversource.

Last month, Eversource announced that it is selling part of its share of the joint venture to partner Orsted for $625 million in order to concentrate on its core business, the distribution of electricity.

Eversource and Orsted have signed a 10-year, $20 million lease to use State Pier in New London as a supply base for offshore construction of their three wind farms.

Late last month, turbine towers began to arrive in New London in pieces by ship. Most of the assembly is to take place on the 40-acre pier and the components will be shipped offshore.

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