As Revolution Wind 1 Moves Through Permitting Process, Developers Propose Second Offshore Wind Project
March 14, 2023
Even as they thread their way through the later stages of the permitting process for the 704-megawatt Revolution Wind project off the coast of Rhode Island, wind-energy developers Ørsted and Eversource have proposed building a larger, 884-megawatt wind project, dubbed Revolution Wind 2, near the original location, about 18 miles southeast of Point Judith.
The proposal was a response to the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act, requested by Gov. Dan McKee and passed last year, that requires the state to procure an additional 600 to 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity.
Proponents of the 2022 law said at the time that if all 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind were procured, Rhode Island could meet about half of its goal of receiving 100% of its energy from renewable resources by 2033 with offshore wind power alone.
McKee announced the competitive offshore wind solicitation last July. The request for proposals was issued by Rhode Island Energy, which would ultimately buy the power from the successful bidder for the project.
In a statement released March 13, Ørsted and Eversource said Revolution Wind 2 would have the ultimate capacity to provide power to 500,000 residences. The developers claimed the proposed project would represent more than $2 billion in economic benefits to Rhode Island via port improvements and ship building related to the offshore wind facility.
A spokesperson for Ørsted and Eversource said no information is available yet about the number of turbines proposed for Revolution 2 or a timetable for construction and start of operation.
In their statement, Ørsted and Eversource said Revolution 2 would make significant investments in the state’s ports, including $35 million to a regional offshore wind logistics and operations hub at Quonset Point in North Kingstown; enable the construction of two new crew transfer vessels in addition to the five being built by Blount Boats and Senesco Marine; create a new engineering hub with about 75 local engineering jobs; create new union jobs at ProvPort; and insert millions of dollars of direct investments into the state’s supply chain, workforce training, education, and research.
A day after the Revolution 2 announcement, a scheduled meeting of the Coastal Resources Management Council proceeded without any action on a matter pertaining to the original Revolution Wind project.
The piece of business for the March 14 meeting was part of a federal consistency review of the project as authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act. The postponed business would have dealt with approving a 22-acre paved port lay-down area near the Quonset Business Park for the Quonset Multimodal Offshore Wind Transport Center.
In December, CRMC unanimously voted to allow the Revolution Wind developers to install export cables from the turbines and other infrastructure through the West Passage of Narragansett Bay and into Quonset Business Park.
Council action to approve the port lay-down area at Quonset had been postponed from the council’s Feb. 14 meeting. In early March, the council and the developers agree to the fourth stay agreement for the federal consistency review. The first stay agreement started Aug. 6, 2021, and the current stay agreed will end April 28.
The stay was needed, said Laura Dwyer, CRMC’s public educator and information coordinator, because of the large amount of information about the Revolution project that the agency must understand, review, and judge.
“There is an incredible amount of information for our staff to review and months of negotiations, meetings and conversations to be had with the developer/applicant regarding many facets of the application, as well as fisheries mitigation work and negotiations between Orsted and the Fisheries Advisory Board, which we also facilitate,” Dwyer said. “CRMC must also consider [the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s] draft Environmental Impact Statement, released in September 2022. We consider the EIS to contain valuable information pertinent to our decision-making process in the federal consistency review. The project has also undergone refinements in recent months, and CRMC wants to ensure there is adequate time to analyze those.”
The draft Environment Impact Statement garnered 123 comments from various institutions and the public, much of it in opposition. At the time, several interested parties, including fishery management councils, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and NOAA Fisheries, recommended changes or enhancements to the project.
The final EIS for the original Revolution Wind has not yet been released.
Ørsted and Eversource said construction on the 704-megawatt project is expected to begin later this year and to “be operational in 2025.”
Four hundred megawatts of power should provide energy to 200,000 Rhode Island residents, the developers have said. Connecticut would receive the remaining 304 megawatts of power.
Ørsted is a Danish wind developer and Eversource is a New England-based company. Ørsted owns the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, completed in 2016. Ørsted bought the 30-megawatt Block Island facility a few years after it was built by Deepwater Wind, which Ørsted acquired.