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DEM approves first permits for Deepwater Wind’s Block Island wind project

PROVIDENCE – Deepwater Wind’s proposal to build a five-turbine wind farm in waters off Block Island has received its first permits.

The company announced on Thursday that the state Department of Environmental Management had approved water quality certificates to allow dredging and other marine construction activities for the wind farm and transmission cable that will connect Block Island to Narragansett. The agency also issued a freshwater wetlands permit for on-shore construction.

Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski called the approval of the permits a major step forward for the project.

“Momentum for the project is strong and we are moving closer to having ‘steel in the water,’” he said in a statement.

The permits are among many that Deepwater must secure before it can build the wind farm.

Deepwater is still awaiting a decision from the state Coastal Resources Management Council, the lead state permitting agency for the project. The council is set to meet Tuesday to consider Deepwater’s application. Council staff and a subcommittee have recommended approval.

Deepwater is also awaiting approval from the lead federal permitting agency, the Army Corps of Engineers.