Army Corps extends Deepwater comment period

Change in leadership at Deepwater Wind
Wed, 11/14/2012 - 8:30pm

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday, Nov. 14, that it has extended its public comment period for Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm beyond the initial 45 days and the original Nov. 19 deadline because of requests for more time.

The comment period for the application, and the reams of documentation the company submitted last month to support it, will now end Dec. 31. The Army Corps is the lead federal agency assessing the project.

The Block Island Wind Farm is a five-turbine, 30-megawatt farm planned for just off the southeast corner of the island. Undersea cables would connect the farm to a substation at the Block Island Power Company, and connect the island substation to National Grid in Narragansett. The company has said it expects the farm to be operational by 2013 or 2014.

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council is the lead state agency for permitting the project. It has yet to set a public comment period, but as a public council, it will hold a hearing on the application when it is ready.

Grybowski takes the reins

Jeff Grybowski, the former political operative upstate who has been the chief administrative officer for Deepwater Wind, has just been promoted to CEO.

Former CEO Bill Moore is now on the company’s board of directors, said Block Island Wind Farm Manager Bryan Wilson. Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, and investor in Deepwater Wind, has been named Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Having Grybowski, such a seasoned local figure, dealing with day-to-day operations shows how important it is to the company to move ahead with its first project, said Wilson. The company says the small project will be used to gather data for a second, much larger project further offshore.

“This really shows that the Block Island Wind Farm is our focus,” said Wilson. “We consider that the company’s fundamental first step.”

“We are very focused on building on the success of the Block Island Wind Farm as a stepping stone to building larger utility-scale projects especially for New York and New England,” said Grybowski in a press release Thursday.