A member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition (SEEC) Caucus, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) commended progress by the U.S. Department of the Interior toward the building of a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the publication of an environmental assessment for commercial wind leases and site assessment activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, saying this step puts Interior in position to offer the area as one of the nation's first offshore competitive lease sales before the end of the year.
"Today's announcement marks another key milestone for a project that can make a major impact on Rhode Island's energy and economic future, and I have been proud to advocate for our state to be the site of the nation's first offshore wind farm," said Langevin. "Its development holds great promise for Rhode Island and the country to have more stable and cleaner energy resources, while boosting our economy by presenting an opportunity to build a manufacturing base for these turbines and create quality jobs in the Ocean State.
"I am pleased that we were able to have Secretary Salazar visit Rhode Island to meet with the congressional delegation and state leaders last summer and I know we have the necessary commitment from everyone involved to get this done."
According to the Interior Department, the environmental assessment for the Rhode Island/Massachusetts Wind Energy Area will be used by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to inform future leasing decisions as part of the Administration's "Smart from the Start" offshore wind energy initiative.
The Wind Energy Area (WEA) comprises approximately 164,750 acres within the area of mutual interest identified by the two states. BOEM leadership will host public information sessions on July 16 and 17 to further engage stakeholders and consider public comments on the environmental assessment in determining whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact, or conduct additional analysis under NEPA in order to hold a lease sale for commercial offshore wind development. For more information, click here.
Last August, Salazar visited Quonset to announce the initial steps to develop commercial wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The Call for Information and Nominations invited developers to identify locations within an offshore area in which they seek commercial leases for developing wind projects.