Federal officials today cleared the way for a proposed offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island to move forward after years of delays and opposition.
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said in a statement that an agreement to improve safety oversight at offshore wind farms is expected to make construction of the 3.4-megawatt project easier.
The offshore farm will be in waters about 12 miles off the coast of Narragansett, R.I., but there were questions about whether it would qualify for the Federal Aviation Administration’s “high safety priority” certification.
The compromise, signed off by Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) and President Donald Trump, allocates some resources at the federal level to help offshore wind farms secure FAA certification. The agreement doesn’t mandate air-safety testing or require turbines to be designed to prevent collisions, Sullivan said.
“This agreement creates the means to prioritize testing that will help us to meet our energy goals, and we will test sea animals, people and property,” Sullivan said.
Supporters of the project said the agreement would put offshore wind on par with solar and hydroelectric power in terms of both cost and reliability.
“This is an exciting time for Rhode Island and this initiative represents a new way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and invest in alternative energy,” Raimondo said in a statement.