The United States’ Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it will issue a Notice of Availability (NOA) for Vineyard Wind’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS.) The DEIS was prepared by BOEM as part of the agency’s review of Vineyard Wind’s proposed 800-MW wind farm to be constructed in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and approximately 34 miles south of the Cape Cod mainland.
BOEM reported that there will be a 45-day public comment period for the DEIS, ending on January 21, 2019. The DEIS provides an analysis of potential environmental impacts associated with proposed actions as set forth in the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the project that Vineyard Wind submitted to BOEM in 2017.
Public input, which will include five public BOEM meetings in the region, will inform preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Full details regarding the public meetings and directions for submitting comment can be found here.
Publication of the DEIS represents the latest progress for the project as it advances through the permitting process toward the start of construction in 2019 and operations by 2021 following the award and execution of long-term contracts between Vineyard Wind and Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies. Since submitting the COP, Vineyard Wind announced that the project’s preferred cable landing will be the Town of Barnstable and both parties entered into a Host Community Agreement, stipulating additional measures to ensure protection of the Town’s watershed.
“Our project has improved significantly over the past six months through substantive public comment and participation in the permitting process,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer. “Our team continues to work on improving the proposal wherever possible, in particular with regard to the project’s interaction with the region’s fisheries, and we look forward to receiving additional input and guidance during this stage of the permitting process.”
When the Vineyard Wind project becomes operational, it will reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year, or the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads while offering $3.7 billion in energy-related cost savings to the New England region over the life of the project.