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Offshore Wind

Offshore Wind Fisheries Research Funding Opportunity
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is providing funding, along with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, to advance baseline data information on fisheries research and monitoring topics of relevance to offshore wind in Southern New England prior to the initiation of wind construction activities.
Please click for funding opportunity details and access to the full Request for Proposals.
Applications are due October 17, 2019.

RIDEM Involvement in Offshore Wind Development

The RIDEM is supportive of offshore wind energy development in an effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our agency is committed to ensuring that the local and regional environmental and socioeconomic impacts of offshore wind development are minimized. The DEM contributes to the successful development of offshore wind farms by:
  • Providing the best available science and data to understand potential impacts of development on both marine resources and the fisheries the depend on them
  • Working directly with wind developers to make project siting and layout recommendations to minimize fishing and environmental impact to RI resources
  • Reviewing and analyzing raw trawl and ventless lobster survey data collected as part of a Before-After-Control-Impact assessment of the Block Island Wind Farm to better understand potential impacts of offshore wind development on local species and habitats
    • These data were collected by Deepwater Wind contractors per the requirements of an RIDEM Water Quality Certificate (WQC# 12-037).
    • Deepwater Wind has provided funds to the State of Rhode Island to allow RIDEM to independently analyze these data.
  • Reviewing all submitted materials from Deepwater Wind and National Grid to ensure permit compliance (i.e., EMF surveys, hardbottom habitat monitoring, cable burial surveys)
  • Organizing Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council meetings with developers to create added opportunities for public input
  • Working as a cooperating agency to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting process
    • This entails reviewing and providing constructive input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Serving on both the Rhode Island Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force and engaging on the New York Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force under BOEM.
  • Contributing directly to the creation of a regional collaborative to study the impacts of offshore wind development on marine habitats, fish, invertebrates, and the fishing industries that rely upon them.

DEM Products

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Analysis
  • Please note that there are still limitations to this approach. Not all fisheries are covered by VMS; for example, there are no VMS or VTR requirements for the lobster or Jonah Crab fisheries and therefore, we cannot estimate the economic value of these fisheries using this approach. Additionally, VMS is relatively new technology, there is not 100% coverage for all fisheries, and those with full coverage now may not have had full coverage until recently (e.g squid did not require VMS until 2014). Consequently, earlier years should be interpreted cautiously and with a strong understanding of each of the datasets utilized.
Map of Lobster Management Areas and the Wind Energy Areas

Comment Letters

Information on Federal Offshore Wind Development Process

The federal Outer Continental Shelf Permitting Process (used by BOEM in leasing wind energy areas)
Stage 1: Planning and Analysis
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Coordination
  • Announce Area Identification (WEA)
  • Conduct Environmental Assessment (site characterization under National Environmental Policy Act
Stage 2: Leasing
  • Continue Stakeholder Engagement through Task Forces
  • Issues leases (noncompetitive) or hold lease sales (competitive)
Stage 3: Site Assessment
  • Lessee conducts site characterization
  • Lessee submits and Site Assessment Plan (SAP)
  • BOEM reviews SAP form and environmental and technical standpoints
  • If approved, lessee assesses site, usually with meteorological tower(s) and/or buoy(s)
Stage 4: Commercial Development
  • Lessee may conduct additional site characterization
  • Lessee submits a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for review and approve
  • BOEM prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (required under the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Approved project receives a 25-year lease term and builds
Wind Farm Development Process Image courtesy of BOEM

Ongoing Federal Projects

+ Deepwater Wind - Block Island Wind Farm
America's first offshore wind farm comprised of 5 turbines located south of Block Island.
Block Island Wind Farm
+ Deepwater Wind - Revolution Wind
A proposed windfarm in the permitting process. The proposed offshort windfarm is comprised of up to 50 offshore wind turbines located roughly halfway between Block Island RI and Martha's Vineyard, MA.
Revolution Wind
Revolution Wind Connecticut
+ Deepwater Wind - South Fork Wind Farm
An offshore wind farm comprosed of 15 turbines located 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Constrution is planned to begin in 2021.
South Fork Wind Farm
+ Orsted - Bay State Wind
Orsted is currently working on developing projects in Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Orsted Projects
Bay State Wind
+ Vineyard Wind OCS-A-501
Lease area is a 160,000 acre area 14 miles from Martha's Vineyard shore.
Vineyard Wind
The Project
+ Empire Wind
Development is planned in a 80,000 acre area located 20 miles south of Long Island.
Empire Wind
+ Equinor US LLC - OCS-A-520
Provisional winner of lease area OSC-A-250 off of MA
Equinor Wind
+ Mayflower Wind Energy,LLC OCS-A-521
A joint venture between Shell and EDP Renewables
Provisional Winner of lease area OCS-A-521 off of MA.
+ Vineyard Wind LLC OCS-A-552
Provisional winnter of lease area OCS-A-522 off of MA.
Vineyard Wind

Additional Resources

  • Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and New England Fishery Management Council Page on Wind in the Northeast
  • BOEM Page on Offshore Wind and Fisheries
  • Regional Ocean Data Portals
    • The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Ocean data portals are online public resources that consolidate spatial data for marine spatial planning. Layers include fishing areas (VMS and VTR), shipping lanes, areas of fisheries habitat, wind development areas, and many more.
    • MARCO - Portal Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal
    • NROC - Portal Northeast Ocean Data Portal
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineer, and Medicine Workshop on Atlantic offshore Renewable Energy Development and Fisheries Proceedings
  • Development of Mitigation Measures to Address Potential Use Conflicts between Commercial Wind Energy Lessees/Grantees and Commercial Fishermen on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf

For more information please contact Julia Livermore

Quick Links
+ Public Meetings/RI Marine Fisheries Council
+ Commercial Fishing/Dealer Resources
+ Recreational Saltwater Fishing
+ Fisheries Science & Research
+ Additional Resources
+ Boating Resources
Contact Marine Fisheries
3 Ft. Wetherill Rd.
Jamestown, RI 02835
Phone: 1-401-423-1923
Fax: 1-401-423-1925