Federal regulators have approved plans for a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, as the Biden administration seeks to increase the nation's renewable energy capacity.
The project will be smaller than initially planned, with 12 rather than 15 turbines. It has been redesigned to avoid high-value fishing grounds and shipping channels, which were previously considered for the project.
On Wednesday, the permission from the Interior and Commerce Departments takes the South Fork wind farm one step closer to its goal of supplying enough electricity to power 70,000 households on Long Island, New York, through an undersea cable.
In a design report, among other papers, officials said that the developers were still responsible for them in the future.
Officials argued that denying approval for the offshore wind farm would encourage energy developers to build new power generation in the area that would be fueled by natural gas, oil, or coal, which would emit more air pollutants and have a more significant impact on air quality in the region than the offshore wind farm.
In their statement, authorities said that the decision contains procedures to prevent, limit, and mitigate any consequences. These criteria were created in cooperation with a wide variety of stakeholders, including state and municipal governments, industry, and ocean users.
However, the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, which represents fishing interests, claims that regulators failed to consider their concerns when implementing cod spawning season restrictions, replacements for long-running biological surveys that will be unable to operate, and safe navigation corridors.
The Biden administration has set a target of producing 30 gigatonnes of offshore wind energy in the United States by 2030 as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
According to prior estimates by the Interior Department, achieving that target would create approximately 80,000 employment. According to a press release, the South Fork project will generate around 130 megawatts of electricity.
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