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CRMC Opens Deepwater Wind Hearings, DWW Team Testifies

CRMC OSAMP committee

CRMC OSAMP committee meeting on Deepwater Wind drew a large crowd to URI’s Corliss Auditorium. (photos Tracey C. O’Neill 2014)

Narragansett – The Coastal Resources Management Council through its OSAMP subcommittee on Tuesday, hosted an auditorium filled with concerned Rhode Islanders ready to discuss the development of offshore wind in the waters off the shores of the Ocean State.

Both advocates and adversaries to the Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm project attended the CRMC hearing held at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

DWW meets regulatory standards

In the first of several hearings by the Ocean Special Management Plan subcommittee (OSAMP), members listened attentively to witnesses presented by Deepwater Wind (DWW) counsel, Robin Main.

Standing before a full auditorium, Main addressed Deepwater’s participation in development of the OSAMP and its compliance with OSAMP and CRMC Red Book (regulatory) guidelines.

“The OSAMP provides standards for offshore development that will make Rhode Island the leader in managing offshore renewable energy. Deepwater Wind wants to be at the forefront with CRMC with the development of offshore wind,” said Main. “Importantly, Deepwater Wind has sited the wind farm in the Renewable Energy Zone – the zone that the OSAMP has selected as most suitable for offshore wind development.”

Jeff Grybowski presents wind farm nuts and bolts

Company protagonist and CEO, Jeffrey Grybowski at center stage, explained the benefits of the bi-directional transmission system, providing more than an electrical conduit to and from the island. The transmission system also provides the Island with fiber-optic access, allowing greater access to connectivity for internet, medical, emergency, school and other critical communication uses.

The Wind Farm production also reduces the harmful effects of carbon emissions and climate change, according to Grybowski. The Block Island Wind Farm in providing electricity to the Island, reduced the Island’s dependence on diesel fuel sources.

Main expressed Deepwater’s satisfaction that the CRMC staff report concluded that materials submitted by Deepwater met the applicable OSAMP requirements sufficiently to move on to final development stage. Presenting several witnesses, Deepwater Wind took the audience through the technical, environmental and financial aspects of the project.

At least two more hearings are scheduled by CRMC due to the more than 60 individuals and organizations who signed up to speak. Tuesday’s meeting ran 4 hours before being cut off by Anne Maxwell Livingston, CRMC Chair.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Block Island at New Shoreham Town Hall on February 24 at 2:00 p.m.

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