RI coastal regulators back South Fork Wind Farm, over objections from fishermen
State coastal regulators approved a vital certification for the South Fork Wind Farm on Wednesday, a decision that pushes the second major offshore wind project proposed in the United States one step closer to reality.
PROVIDENCE — State coastal regulators approved a vital certification for the South Fork Wind Farm on Wednesday, a decision that pushes the second major offshore wind project proposed in the United States one step closer to reality.
The vote by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in favor of the wind farm was made over the objections of fishermen, who argued that a mitigation package agreed to with developers Ørsted and Eversource would fall well short of adequately compensating them for losses caused by the installation and operation of the project’s 12 turbines.
Certification that the wind farm is consistent with state coastal policies also came despite concerns raised by Save The Bay and others about the council’s permitting process for the wind farm, which would be built in an area called Cox Ledge in Rhode Island Sound that is home to a rich diversity of fish, including species of tuna and Atlantic cod.
“If the council certifies the project as consistent, it will make a mockery of the process,” Michael Jarbeau, baykeeper with the environmental group, said before the council vote. “This might be the correct project, but it is certainly not the correct location.”
He quoted from an analysis from the council’s own staff that described the project site as “one of the worst possible locations within Rhode Island Sound” for the wind farm.