The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC (DWBI) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to construction of the Block Island Wind Farm.
The authorization is effective from Oct. 31, 2014, through Oct. 30, 2015, NOAA said in a notice to be published in the Sept. 9 Federal Register.
In March 2013, NMFS received an application from DWBI for this permit. The application went through a series of revisions and the final version was submitted in October 2013. NMFS determined that the application was adequate and complete in December 2013.
Deepwater Wind Block Island plans to develop the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF), a 30 MW offshore wind farm. The planned activity could begin in late 2014 and last through late 2015; however, portions of the project will only occur for short, sporadic periods of time over the 1-year period.
The following specific aspects of the planned activities are likely to result in the take of marine mammals: impact pile driving and the use of dynamically positioned (DP) vessel thrusters. Take, by Level B Harassment only, of individuals of nine species is anticipated to result from the specified activity.
The BIWF will consist of five, 6 MW wind turbine generators (WTGs), a submarine cable interconnecting the WTGs, and a transmission cable. Construction of the BIWF will involve: cable landfall construction on Block Island via a short-distance horizontal directional drill from an excavated trench box located on Crescent Beach, Block Island; jacket foundation installation; inter-array and export cable installation; and WTG installation. Installation of the jacket foundation will require impact pile driving. The generation of underwater noise from impact pile driving and the DP vessel thruster may result in the incidental take of marine mammals.
In connection with the BIWF, Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission System LLC (a different applicant) plans to construct the Block Island Transmission System, a bi-directional submarine transmission cable that will run from Block Island to the Rhode Island mainland. Incidental take of marine mammals resulting from construction of the Block Island Transmission System will be assessed separately.
Construction activities could begin in late 2014 and are scheduled to be complete by December 2015.
New England Power d/b/a National Grid on July 24 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) with Deepwater Block Island Wind. The LGIA covers the interconnect of the Block Island Wind project to a 34.5 kV substation to be constructed on Block Island and owned by New England Power’s affiliate, National Grid. The generation project and the new substation on Block Island are to be connected to the Rhode Island mainland by a 34.5-kV undersea cable being constructed pursuant to the Town of New Shoreham Project bill enacted into Rhode Island state law in 2009.
The facility is to consist of five fully-inverted wind turbine generators connected in series and rated at 6 MW each. The turbine maker is Alstom, with provision for a comparable turbine.
The project under the LGIA has an in-service target date of June 1, 2016, and a commercial operation target date of Dec. 31, 2016.