US Could Soon Give Go-Ahead to Another Large-Scale Offshore Wind Farm
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is expected to soon announce its decision on whether to approve the Revolution Wind offshore wind farm as the federal agency has now completed the environmental analysis of the project, which Ørsted and Eversource plan to build offshore Rhode Island.
BOEM issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project on 17 July and will publish the FEIS in the Federal Register on 21 July. A Record of Decision (ROD) on whether to approve, approve with modification, or disapprove Revolution Wind is planned to be issued this summer.
The FEIS analyses the potential environmental impacts of the activities laid out in the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP), in which Ørsted and Eversource are proposing to build an 880 MW offshore wind farm approximately 15 nautical miles southeast of Point Judith, Rhode Island.
Revolution Wind already has power purchase agreements (PPAs) in place for 704 MW of its capacity, one for 400 MW with the State of Rhode Island and two for a total of 304 MW with the State of Connecticut.
BOEM started the environmental review in the spring of 2021 and published the Draft EIS in the Federal Register on 2 September 2022.
This had opened a 45-day public comment period, during which the federal agency received a total of 124 comments from Federal, Tribal, state, and local government agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the public that informed the preparation of the Final EIS.
“Specifically in response to comments received, BOEM developed a preferred alternative that includes fewer turbines to reduce impacts to visual resources and benthic habitat, allows for ocean co-use, and meet the energy needs of Rhode Island”, BOEM stated in a press release issued on 17 July.
Under this alternative (Alternative F) in the now-published FEIS, BOEM could select that the developer installs wind turbines of a higher capacity than proposed in the project’s COP.
For the alternative, BOEM has explored the technology on the market and its availability once Revolution Wind enters construction and has identified 14 MW turbines as the highest capacity turbines that would be commercially available on time and that fall within the physical design parameters of the project design envelope.
Ørsted and Eversource have already selected their preferred wind turbine model in October 2021, when they placed an order with Siemens Gamesa for 77 of its SG 11.0- 200 DD wind turbines, twelve for the South Fork Wind project, now under construction off New York, and 65 for Revolution Wind.
For Ørsted, the upcoming federal decision on Revolution Wind will mark another milestone in the US offshore wind market as, besides the start of the offshore construction in New York, the company also recently obtained BOEM’s green light for the 1.1 GW Ocean Wind 1 project in New Jersey.
If approved, the 880 MW Revolution Wind would be the fourth commercial-scale offshore wind project located on the US Outer Continental Shelf approved by the Biden-Harris administration.
Ørsted and its US partner Eversource, which is now exiting the offshore wind projects it owns together with Ørsted, also plan to build another offshore wind farm in the waters off Rhode Island, the 884 MW Revolution Wind 2.
In March this year, the joint venture submitted a proposal for Revolution Wind 2 in the state’s offshore wind solicitation and was the sole developer to respond to Rhode Island Energy’s request for proposals (RFP).
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