Block Island wind farm could have an easier path

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Good communication from the start could give a proposed wind farm off Block Island a smoother approval process than Massachusetts-based Cape Wind.

The proposed Cape Wind project on Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod, Mass., has drawn opposition from some boaters and others who argue it would spoil the pristine environment and could pose a hazard to navigation.

Now Rhode Island is working with Deepwater Wind - an offshore wind developer with locations in Providence, R.I., Hauppauge, N.Y., Hoboken, N.J., and Houston - on an environmental feasibility study for a wind farm off Block Island, says Fred Hashway Jr., director of government affairs for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp.

He is confident that efforts to involve all affected parties in the dialogue from the start will create less controversy.

"We have already started discussions with commercial fishermen on this," says Hashway. "We are trying to get everyone in on the discussion from the get-go."

Hashway was one of the speakers at a recent roundtable sponsored by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, which addressed "greening" the boating industry.

Sixty-eight people attended the March 5 discussion at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., to discuss how marine businesses can take advantage of green technology. Other featured speakers included marine technical expert and author Nigel Calder; John Burman, vice president of Kingman Yacht Center in Cataumet, Mass.; and Richard O'Meara, owner of Core Composites in Newport, R.I.

For information, visit www.rimta.org.

See related article:

- Wind farm could soon be a reality

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the May 2010 issue.