Rhode Island plays an important role in our SouthCoast Wind 1 project. We look forward to working with many Ocean State residents and businesses, providing well-paying jobs and procuring a diversified roster of local goods and services.
Aquidneck Island is anticipated to host some of the essential transmission infrastructure necessary to bring our project’s low-cost renewable offshore wind energy to homes and businesses across New England.
SouthCoast Wind’s offshore wind lease area, shown on the map, is located more than 60 miles south of Rhode Island.
The proposed route of the buried submarine cable would extend northwest from the lease area, through federal and Rhode Island state waters, up the Sakonnet River, with a buried intermediate underground crossing in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The cable then continues through Mount Hope Bay and ends with a grid connection at Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts.
The final route of the cable is still being determined and will be based upon ongoing surveys, studies, and the permitting process. Your input is valued during the regulatory review process. You can learn more on the SouthCoast 1 Project page.
Determining the cable route
SouthCoast Wind examined more than a dozen potential transmission cable routes including several onshore routes through Southern Massachusetts and the East Bay, others to the East and West of Aquidneck Island, as well as the Western Passage of Narragansett Bay.
Each route was evaluated on several criteria required by state and federal permitting authorities including avoiding sensitive ecosystems and socio-economic concerns (e.g. historic areas, environmental justice areas, high-density residential areas, etc.) as well as conflicts with other activities (e.g. fishermen, mariners and the USCG & US Navy).
After years of surveys, studies and analysis, the route via the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope Bay was identified as the path that minimizes disruption and can be carried out in a safe and responsible manner.
The cables will be installed in up to two cable bundles, each consisting of two power cables and one dedicated communications cable. The proposed target burial depth, including the Sakonnet River, is 6 ft below level seabed. The proposed range of acceptable burial depths is 3- 13 ft.
As the cables come ashore at the intersection of Boyd’s Lane and Park Avenue in Portsmouth, RI, we will employ horizontal directional drilling, a best practice trenchless installation method that avoids impacts to sensitive coastal ecosystems by utilizing precision boring technology to install the cables approximately 40 feet below the seabed and ground without disturbing the seabed surface.
Horizontal Directional Drilling
This portion of the project is anticipated to take approximately 1-2 months at each location. Residents and others will still be able to access the beach, and fishing and boating in the Sakonnet will continue as usual with the exception of a small safety zone around construction vessels while cable laying work is taking place.
Once ashore, the cables will continue across Portsmouth for approximately 2 miles. Just like other utility projects, the cables will be laid beneath public roadways and along one of three potential routes: northwest towards the Mount Hope Bridge, or northeast towards Anthony Road.
A final decision on routing will be made after a full analysis has been completed. That decision will then be reviewed and require approval by state and local regulatory agencies.
One permitted, this portion of the project construction will occur over 3-6 months during the fall/winter season.
Rolling lane closures will be utilized so that only a 100-200 foot section of road is under construction at any given time. All roads along the route will be returned to equal or better than previous condition.
The construction schedule will be established in close coordination with the Town of Portsmouth, and residents will be regularly informed of upcoming construction activities. SouthCoast Wind and its contractors will also work with RIDOT, RITBA, and the Town of Portsmouth to plan road use during construction, including the collaborative development and implementation of a Traffic Management Plan.
Once installed, the only visual impact the cables will have are several manhole covers along the route to enable access for routine maintenance.
On the north side of the island, HDD will again be used to transition the cables into Mount Hope Bay. The cable will travel approximately 6 miles under the riverbed before making final landfall at Brayton Point, where the power will be fed into the regional electric grid.
Benefits to Rhode Island
The SouthCoast Wind 1 project is anticipated to create more than 8,000 direct jobs throughout the project lifecycle. Several hundred permanent, high-quality, long-term jobs operating and maintaining the offshore wind farm will be based out of the Fall River, MA waterfront – at least 75% of which will be based locally in the Southern New England Region. See more economic benefits.
State & local revenue
The SouthCoast Wind project has the potential to generate substantial local and state revenue through a variety of sources including submerged lands lease fees.
SouthCoast Wind is leading one of the most significant carbon reduction efforts ever undertaken in the region which is vital to combating the climate threats facing Portsmouth, RI and other New England coastal communities. Each year, the emissions avoided by the SouthCoast Wind project will be the equivalent to offsetting the emissions from 10 standard sized natural gas power plants. Read more climate benefits.
Education & workforce development
SouthCoast Wind is also an active supporter of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs (STEM), and renewable energy education programs for local students. We support local workforce training, in collaboration with area vocational schools, community colleges and other job training providers.
Supply Chain Opportunities
SouthCoast Wind is working closely with a number of Rhode Island based businesses, and is actively looking to procure additional goods and services locally. To support these efforts, we have partnered with SupplyRI, who connects local Rhode Island suppliers to organizations such as SouthCoast Wind through their robust supplier database, training courses and local events. “We have every confidence that with support from SupplyRI, SouthCoast Wind will find the suppliers it needs right here in the Ocean State” – RI Secretary of Commerce, Elizabeth Tanner
RI Commerce – SupplyRI Meet the Buyer Event
KidWind Celebration – Roger Williams University
SouthCoast Wind in your community
Dugan Becker and Rebecca Doughty are the Project’s Community Liaison Officers. In this role, they serve as the link between the community and SouthCoast Wind. They listen to residents and shares project updates and information to strengthen communication and collaboration.
If you have any questions about the information on this page, we encourage you to email one of our community liaisons or call 508-589-3557. We will aim to provide a response within two business days.
This page will be updated frequently so we encourage you to visit often and/or sign up for our email updates.