Environmental Consulting & Engineering Services - from Concept to Reality

Case Studies

Block Island Wind Farm Environmental Compliance Monitoring

deepwaterwind

ESS is providing third-party environmental compliance monitoring to support the construction and installation of the Block Island Wind Farm and the Sea2Shore Transmission System. The Block Island Wind Farm, owned and operated by Deepwater Wind, will be a 30 MW, five-turbine offshore windfarm located approximately three miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island. The project is slated to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States.  

The Sea2Shore Transmission System, owned and operated by National Grid, is an electric infrastructure project that will feed the electricity generated by Block Island Wind Farm into the Rhode Island state electric grid via a 20-mile long, 34.5 kV submarine cable that connects Block Island to the Rhode Island mainland. The submarine cable will run from Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island to Crescent Beach on Block Island, and is being supplied and installed by LS Cable America, Inc.

Strategy

During construction, ESS works in cooperation with the project’s contractors and owners, on behalf of the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), to monitor and report on compliance with environmental permit conditions.

ESS serves as a key liaison between the developer and the regulators by establishing comprehensive, efficient, and integrated monitoring methods, reporting protocols, and communication strategies. This ensures that effective and collaborative solutions can be reached if or when environmental compliance issues arise. 

Permitting & Compliance

Through a variety of methods, ESS Environmental Monitors ensure that construction activities meet the stringent environmental protection requirements set by the state and federal agencies. ESS also facilitates communication between the various contractors and agencies to support compliance with environmental permit requirements. Requirements include implementing construction best management practices (BMPs), protecting nearby species and essential habitats, and engaging in mitigation measures, if necessary.

Inspection & Monitoring

ESS conducts periodic on-site inspections, in addition to providing daily report review and assessment, of environmental compliance during construction activities, including turbine foundation installation, horizontal directional drilling (HDD), and offshore and onshore transmission cable installations. If an environmental issue is identified, ESS works proactively with the project team to make real-time adjustments that minimize environmental impacts before the construction schedule or budget is affected.

Outcome & Benefits

Construction for the Block Island Wind Farm and Sea2Shore Transmission System is proceeding as planned. Our  extensive experience in monitoring and reporting for offshore wind energy projects and submarine cable installations, understanding of marine construction logistics, and coordination of contactor and agency communication regarding environmental compliance has allowed ESS to serve as an independent mediator that understands the environmental permit conditions, and can coordinate efforts to guide the project towards permit compliance.

By taking a proactive approach to environmental monitoring, ESS has been able to identify problems early and suggest solutions with enough lead time to make beneficial project adjustments. This tactic not only reduces environmental impacts, but it can prevent larger issues, including work delays and unexpected project costs.

Construction and installation of the Block Island Wind Farm and Sea2Shore Transmission System will be completed by fall 2016.