NARRAGANSETT- The chambers of the town hall were filled with anxious residents waiting for answers regarding the offshore wind turbines during a work session Wednesday with the Narragansett Town Council and Deepwater Wind.
Town Council President James Callaghan began the discussion by clarifying with both the residents and the present members of Deepwater Wind that despite some of the comments during previous town council meetings, the council has never had any previous negotiations with Deepwater Wind.
“Just to set the record straight, a few weeks ago Deepwater had a public session at the Village Inn and a representative of Deepwater stated that there was an agreement being placed between Narragansett and Deepwater,” said Callaghan. “And I just want to make sure for the record and everybody here, with Mr. Grybowski that is not the case.”
Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, confirmed that the suspicion of previous negotiations with the present town council was false. He stated that Deepwater appeared before the prior town council on several occasions and then were instructed to speak with the prior town manager and the town solicitor, Mark McSally.
When asked if Rhode Island would be receiving all of the energy generated by the offshore wind farm, Grybowski said that the Block Island Wind Farm will produce more than 125,000 megawatt hours annually, which is enough to power more than 17,000 homes. Although the power will mostly be received by Rhode Island, Block Island will receive about 10 percent of the power.
Councilor Susan Cicilline- Buonanno questioned Grybowski about the necessity of the project being on Narragansett Town Beach because of the safety concerns of many of the residents.
“Everybody is very concerned with the easement of the town beach, so I wonder if there is another town or another beach,” said Cicilline-Buonanno.
Grybowski stated that the beach is ideal because it is the closest landing spot and the soft sand makes the construction of inserting the cable very simple. Because of the soft sand, it would only take one week for installation. He also said that the proposed cable being installed in the beach does not present any risks. The cable is a 34.5 kilo voltage (kV) cable, which is the same voltage as the cable that currently runs right above Narragansett Elementary School along Riverside Drive.
For the rest of this story and more local news, pick up the June 28 issue of the Narragansett Times.