Siting wind energy projects involves a careful consideration of both the available wind resource and the potential impacts a project may pose to the surrounding area. A number of public-private partnerships and state initiatives have evaluated siting considerations associated with offshore and onshore wind in Rhode Island.
For more information on wind siting, please contact Becca Trietch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land-Based Wind Siting Guidelines
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) finalized large-scale, land-based wind siting guidelines in January 2017. The guidelines are meant to provide information and helpful guidance for Rhode Island municipalities interested in establishing new (or revising existing) land-based wind turbine siting ordinances for their community. The information and recommendations presented within should not be deemed mandates by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER). Click here for more information on land-based wind siting guidelines.
Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP)
The Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) was a planning process conducted by the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) to promote, protect, enhance, and honor existing human uses and natural resources in the coastal waters of Rhode Island, while encouraging economic development and facilitating the coordination of state and federal decision making bodies. Adopted in 2011, the Ocean SAMP informed the siting of Rhode Island’s first offshore wind farm in state waters off Block Island. Click here for more information on the Ocean SAMP.
Division of Planning Wind Siting Guidelines
In 2012, the Division of Planning (DOP) released a technical report, “Interim Siting Factors for Terrestrial Wind Energy Systems,” which put forth guidelines for siting wind turbines in municipalities. DOP produced this report as part of an overarching statutory charge to develop siting guidance for the location of renewable energy facilities in the state. The law directed the DOP to consider standards and guidelines for the location of eligible renewable energy resources and facilities with consideration for the location of such resources and facilities in commercial, industrial, and agricultural areas, areas occupied by public and private institutions, and property of the State, and in other areas of the state as appropriate. Click here for more information on the DOP Wind Siting Guidelines.
Renewable Energy Siting Partnership (RESP)
In response to questions about the effects that the increased development of renewable energy may have on the people and communities of Rhode Island, the State initiated the Renewable Energy Siting Partnership (RESP) in 2011. The RESP spearheaded a statewide conversation among residents, municipalities, and other stakeholders about the benefits and impacts of renewable energy development in the state. The RESP evaluated impacts of land-based wind turbines on bird and bats, scenery, cultural value, property values, and public safety, as well as acoustic, shadow flicker, and electromagnetic interference impacts. The RESP also performed an analysis of modeled wind speed values and confirmed modeled estimates with data collected at specific sites. Drawing on analysis of impacts and wind resource data, the RESP performed a siting analysis to visualize the distribution of wind energy opportunities and constraints around the state. Click here for more information on the RESP.
Wind Energy Siting Tool
As part of the Renewable Energy Siting Partnership (RESP), a “Wind Energy Siting Tool” was developed. The final product is an online decision-support tool that stakeholders can use to assess the estimated power production and siting impacts of proposed wind projects. Click here to access the Wind Energy Siting Tool.
Property Values & Acoustic Impacts Studies
The Office of Energy Resources (OER) commissioned two follow-up studies to the RESP: a property values study and an acoustics study. The purpose of property values study was to assess of the effect that existing onshore wind turbines have on nearby residential property values in Rhode Island. The purpose of the acoustics study was to advance an understanding of the acoustic impacts of wind turbines in Rhode Island. Click here to view the final property values report and appendix and click here to view the final acoustics report.