Block Island Offshore Wind Farm Environmental Monitoring

Block Island Offshore Wind Farm

Block Island Offshore Wind Farm Environmental Monitoring

Monitoring the Nation’s First Offshore Wind Energy Farm in Real Time

On the Atlantic coastline lies the nation’s first offshore wind energy farm — Block Island Wind Farm — which generates enough electricity to serve 17,000 households. At the wind farm, the Real-Time Opportunity for Development Environmental Observations program captures real time, independent observations of the impacts associated with the farm’s construction and initial operation. HDR is providing environmental monitoring services for the program to help the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management accurately characterize impacts.

The 30-megawatt offshore wind farm produces approximately 125 gigawatt hours of clean energy per year. Integrating the farm’s wind energy reduces electric costs by 40% on Block Island. The wind farm is projected to offset 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its 20-plus years of operational life. 

State-of-the-art monitoring protocols have been developed and implemented to gather data on underwater noise propagation, alterations in ocean floor characteristics, benthic community abundance and diversity, and turbine epifouling as a result of the construction and operation of Block Island Wind Farm. The project is a pilot facility expected to serve as a building block for a much larger $1.5 billion, 385-megawatt wind farm in federal waters near Massachusetts. When fully completed, the 100-turbine project could provide 1.3 terawatt hours of power per year — 15% of all electricity used in the state.

The understanding and insights gained from the data analyses are being used to help identify, reduce and mitigate environmental risks in the future, and significantly increase the efficiency and efficacy of BOEM’s regulatory review process for offshore wind development in the U.S.  

Block Island Offshore Wind Farm
U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Block Island, RI
United States