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Army Corps extends Deepwater comment period

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this afternoon that it has extended its public comment period for Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm beyond the initial 45 days.

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 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 Army Corps, the lead federal agency assessing the project, originally set a Nov. 19 deadline for public comment, but extended it because of requests for more time.

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 operating 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.

Having such a seasoned local figure dealing with day-to-day operations shows how import 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.”

The company will release an official statement on the internal move tomorrow morning.