BOEM has offered a right-of-way (ROW) grant to Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission System, LLC (Deepwater Wind) for the Block Island Transmission System (BITS).
Deepwater Wind’s proposed project would entail the installation of a bi-directional submerged transmission cable between Block Island and the Rhode Island mainland. The transmission system would serve two purposes: 1) connect Deepwater Wind’s proposed 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm, located in Rhode Island state waters about 2.5 nautical miles southeast of Block Island, to the Rhode Island mainland; and 2) transmit power from the existing onshore transmission grid on the mainland to Block Island. The ROW corridor, which is about eight nautical miles long and 200 feet wide, comprises the portion of the transmission line that crosses federal waters.
Once both the agency and Deepwater Wind have agreed upon the terms and conditions of the grant, BOEM will send the grant to Deepwater Wind for execution, and the company will be required to pay the first year’s rent and provide financial assurance. Once executed, BOEM will finalize its review of Deepwater Wind’s General Activities Plan, which describes proposed installation activities and conceptual decommissioning plans for the transmission system. The General Activities Plan would be the first approved for an offshore wind energy project for a transmission system in Federal waters.
In September 2014, the Corps completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Block Island Wind Farm and BITS, and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact. Before adopting the EA, BOEM conducted an independent review of the EA and determined that no reasonably foreseeable significant impacts are expected to occur as the result of the preferred alternative, or any of the alternatives contemplated by the EA. On October 27, 2014, BOEM issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the issuance of a ROW grant, and approval of the General Activities Plan, with modifications.