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RI - Developers agree to fewer turbines in proposed offshore wind farm

The developers of the South Fork Wind Farm are set to reduce the number of turbines from 15 to 12 in response to a request from Rhode Island coastal regulators who want to minimize disruption to the marine environment and the state’s fishing industry.

PROVIDENCE — The developers of the South Fork Wind Farm are set to reduce the number of turbines from 15 to 12 in response to a request from Rhode Island coastal regulators who want to minimize disruption to the marine environment and the state’s fishing industry.

At a meeting of the state Coastal Resources Management Council on Tuesday, Ørsted, the Denmark-based offshore wind company, and its partner Eversource, a regional electric utility, will formally agree to use more powerful turbines that would allow them to cut down on the number  needed while still maintaining the same, approximately 132-megawatt capacity of the wind farm.

The companies will also agree to set up a $12-million fund to compensate fishermen for impacts on access to the project area in Rhode Island Sound. The agreement is “grounded in world-class fisheries analysis,” a spokeswoman for the project said in a statement.

“And it’s one we make in the spirit of negotiations to move this first Ørsted-Eversource project forward,” said Meaghan Wims.

The change in configuration follows a warning from council staff that they would recommend denying a key approval to the project that would supply power to Long Island if the developers failed to reduce the number of turbines.  

Staff said the installation of fewer turbines, combined with the compensation fund for fishermen, would mitigate the negative impacts of the wind farm and, in their opinion, bring it into compliance with Rhode Island coastal policies.

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