Offshore Wind

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.

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Analysis


Comment Letters

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
illustration of federal offshore wind development process

Image courtesy of BOEM


map of wind energy areas in southern new england
Project Company MW Capacity Mariners Website Lease Area Region
Block Island Wind Farm Deepwater Wind/Ørsted 30 MW to RI Mariners Website NA Rhode Island
Revolution Wind Ørsted and Eversource 704 MW (400 to RI, 304 to CT) Mariners Website OCS-A 0486 Southern New England
South Fork Wind Farm Ørsted and Eversource 132 MW to NY (Long Island) Mariners Website OCS-A 0517 Southern New England
Sunrise Wind Ørsted and Eversource 924 MW to NY Mariners Website OCS-A 0487 Southern New England
Bay State Wind Ørsted and Eversource Up to 2,000 MW Mariners Website OCS-A 0500 Southern New England
Vineyard Wind I Vineyard Wind 1, LLC (Copenhagen Investment Partners and Avangrid Renewables, LLC) 800 MW to MA Mariners Website OCS-A 0501 Southern New England
Commonweath Wind Avangrid Renewables, LLC 1,232 MW to MA Mariners Website OCS-A 0534 Southern New England
Park City Wind Avangrid Renewables, LLC 804 MW to CT Mariners Website OCS-A 0534 Southern New England
Beacon Wind Equinor and BP 1,230 MW to NY Mariners Website OCS-A 0520 Southern New England
SouthCoast Wind Shell and Ocean Winds 1,200 MW to MA (up to 2,400 MW) Mariners Website OCS-A 0521 Southern New England
TBD Vineyard Wind (Copenhagen Investment Partners) Up to 2,500 MW NA OCS-A 0522 Southern New England
Empire Wind 1 & 2 Equinor and BP 2,100 MW to NY Mariners Website OCS-A 0512 NY/NJ Bight
  • 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