Deepwater Wind to Build Rhode Island Off-Shore Wind Plant
Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri announced on September 25 that Deepwater Wind will construct a wind energy project that is projected to provide 15% of all electricity used annually in the state—about 1.3 million megawatt hours. The project, expected to cost $1 billion to construct and funded by private investments, will be built off the shore of Rhode Island. The exact location is still being determined. Deepwater Wind will also construct a regional manufacturing facility in Quonset, Rhode Island, which will serve the entire northeast with support structures for wind turbines and towers. The facility is expected to create up to 800 jobs. Rhode Island and Deepwater Wind are entering formal negotiations, and final approval of the projects is subject to state and federal regulatory approvals. See the press release from the Rhode Island Government.
As this and other wind projects are built across the country, the environmental, social, and economic effects of such projects are of increasing concern. To address these concerns in areas including Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The PEIS will evaluate concerns, identify mitigation strategies, establish best practices for construction and management, and create a program for evaluating the environmental impact of future projects. Public meetings to gather comments will be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on September 30 (prior to publication of this story); Bismarck, North Dakota, on October 1; and Billings, Montana, on October 2. See the Western Area Power Administration press release.