How Does the Block Island Wind Farm Experience Translate to Other Proposed Offshore Wind Farm Developments?

This question was supplied by the ‘Ask the Experts’ database managers.

Reviewed by: Dr. David Bidwell 

Last Update: April 23rd, 2020

The Ask the Experts database managers conducted an interview with Dr. David Bidwell (Assistant Professor of Marine Affairs) to summarize the findings of a URI study that analyzes the effects of the Block Island Wind Farm on Rhode Island recreation and tourism.

While there are many things that make the Block Island Wind Farm special, it is best known for it being the first completed offshore wind project in the United States. This allows for social science professionals such as Dr. Bidwell to utilize the farm as a pilot project and conduct research that can be used on a much larger scale in the future with the addition of several other offshore wind farms in the United States that will be online within the next several years.

One other unique aspect of the wind farm is that it functions as both a near-shore and offshore project. While it is only 3 miles from Block Island (nearshore), its distance from mainland RI is more typical of the distances planned for larger offshore wind farms. Therefore, researchers were not only able to gather information from Block Island residents who have an incredibly personal relationship with the farm but were also able to collect information and conduct interviews with people on mainland Rhode Island to get their experiences as well. Dr. Bidwell explains that the experiences collected from mainland Rhode Islanders translate well to some of the other proposals for offshore wind farms in the United States where the wind farm will be 15-20 miles offshore.

Read the study