Environmental Consulting & Engineering Services - from Concept to Reality

Case Studies

Block Island Wind Farm Environmental Compliance Monitoring

deepwaterwind

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

The Sea2Shore Transmission System, owned and operated by National Grid, is an electric infrastructure project that feeds 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 runs from Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island to Crescent Beach on Block Island.

Strategy

During construction, ESS worked 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 served as a key liaison between the developer and the regulators by establishing comprehensive, efficient, and integrated monitoring methods, reporting protocols, and communication strategies.

Permitting & Compliance

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

Inspection & Monitoring

ESS conducted 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 environmental issues arose, ESS worked proactively with the project team to make real-time adjustments that minimize environmental impacts before the construction schedule or budget is affected.

Outcome & Benefits

The Block Island Wind Farm and Sea2Shore Transmission System were completed in 2016. ESS's  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 allowed our team to serve as an independent mediator that understood the environmental permit conditions, and coordinated efforts to guide the project towards permit compliance.

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