Block Island Wind Farm Clears Major Hurdle with Unanimous Approval from State Officials

Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea (flickr/UK Department of Energy and Climate Change)
Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea (flickr/UK Department of Energy and Climate Change)
Yesterday was a landmark day in America’s journey to bring offshore wind power online. NWF has been calling on Rhode Island to lead the nation in harnessing the clean energy off our shores by clearing the way for Deepwater Wind’s proposed Block Island Wind Farm to move forward. We have endorsed the project and have been urging our members and supporters in the Ocean State to attend hearings of the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and help raise the volume on the urgency of addressing climate change by embracing the Northeast’s largest untapped carbon-free power source.

Now we get to bring over a year of mobilizing supporters full circle and tell you with pride and gratitude that it was all worth it. Last month, after a series of public hearings, a subcommittee of the CRMC held a workshop to consider the hours of open discussion and testimony they heard regarding Deepwater Wind’s five turbine proposal. The subcommittee members sent their recommendation for approval to the full council – confirming that the project poses no threat to Rhode Island’s coastal environment.

Last night, the CRMC met publicly in Providence to cast their votes in response. Before taking a vote on whether to approve the project once and for all, the group reflected on the years of work that led to the evening’s vote, and emotions were high. There was a pointed awareness that this was a big moment for Rhode Island and for the nation. Approval from the CRMC would mark Deepwater Wind’s final state permit, and would be logged as one of the greatest strides the offshore wind industry has seen, to date, on this side of the Atlantic. Following a short discussion to remind everyone in the room that we were witnessing history in the making, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council embraced their moment to raise the volume of support for offshore wind power. With a seamlessly unanimous vote, Block Island’s offshore wind project moved one major step closer to bringing a truly clean energy future to fruition in America.

Thank you to every one of you who heard our calls to action and added your voice. These moments are why we do what we do, and why we are more motivated than ever to keep our sights set on the horizon.

National Wildlife Federation supports appropriately-sited and responsibly-constructed offshore wind power as a critical solution to protect wildlife from the dangers of climate change, and we applaud Deepwater Wind’s leadership in showing what real stewardship can look like in the energy industry.

Take ActionThis week the Senate is considering extending critical tax credits for offshore wind power in America – add your voice and help Block Island’s success be the first of many to come!