Deepwater Wind has received the first major environmental permit approvals for the 30MW Block Island Wind Farm, which is claimed to be the nation's first offshore wind farm.
Located around three miles off the coast of Block Island, the project is expected to be in operation in 2016.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) has issued Deepwater Wind Water Quality Certificates, deeming the Block Island Wind Farm and transmission system in compliance with state water quality regulations and the Clean Water Act.
In addition to this, RIDEM issued the project a Freshwater Wetland permit for certain onshore construction activities.
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said the approval of RIDEM is a major step forward for the Block Island Wind Farm. Momentum for the project is strong and we are moving closer to having 'steel in the water.
"We appreciate RIDEM's thoughtful consideration of this project, and we're confident that we'll soon secure the remaining state and federal permits. We are proud to be leading the growth of this new American industry here in Rhode Island," Grybowski said.
The company is also required to obtain approvals from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, the US Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the US Army Corps of Engineers to build the wind farm.
Deepwater Wind expects to secure all remaining permits this spring.
Deepwater Wind has begun the initial stages of construction on the 30MW Block Island Wind Farm.
Earlier this year, Alstom was selected by Deepwater Wind to supply turbines and provide long-term maintenance and service for the wind farm.
This month, Alstom supplied 15 turbine blades to the wind farm.
Image: Deepwater Wind receives first permits for Block Island Wind Farm. Photo: courtesy of xedos4/ Freedigitalphotos.net