BOEM seeks public comment on proposed offshore Massachusetts wind farm

In support of the President’s America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Vineyard Wind LLC, which would allow it to construct and operate an 800-MW wind energy facility offshore Massachusetts.

ergy Facility Offshore Massachusetts

The proposed project area is about 14 miles from the southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard and a similar distance from the southwest side of Nantucket. Water depths where the turbines would be located range from approximately 37 to 49 meters (121 to 161 feet).

The publication of the NOI opens a 30-day public comment period. During this time, BOEM will conduct five public scoping meetings and accept comments. The input received via this process will be used to inform preparation of the EIS.

“The offshore wind industry continues to advance at a rapid rate, and the Administration’s commitment to energy security as well as strong state leadership will ensure its success,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “BOEM will work with industry, government partners, and other key stakeholders to make sure that any development is done in an environmentally safe and responsible manner. Public input plays an essential role for identifying and mitigating any potential impacts from proposed development activities.”

BOEM’s scoping process is intended to identify any important issues and potential alternatives for consideration in the Vineyard Wind COP EIS. Throughout the scoping process, there will be multiple opportunities to help BOEM determine significant resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives, and potential mitigating measures to be analyzed in the EIS.

Highlights from Vineyard Wind’s proposal:

  • Construction and operation of an 800-MW project, potentially constructed in two 4000MW phases, up to five years apart.
  • Installation of up to 106 wind turbines, each with a capacity between eight and 10 MW.
  • Foundations consisting of monopoles, jackets, or a combination of both.
  • Inclusion of either two or four offshore substations or electrical service platforms.
  • Potential export cable landfalls include the towns of Yarmouth, Barnstable, and Nantucket in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal facility as the location of on-shore construction and staging.

At its nearest point, the project area is approximately 14 miles from the southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard and a similar distance from the southwest side of Nantucket. Water depths where the turbines would be located range from approximately 37 to 49 meters (121 to 161 feet).

Earlier this year, BOEM took an important step toward making the regulatory process more transparent and flexible by publishing draft guidelines for the use of “Design Envelopes” in Construction and Operations Plans for offshore wind energy facilities in the United States.  This is the first COP received this year and the first to utilize this new approach.

The public scoping meetings will be held as follows:
The 30-day public comment period extends through 11:59pm EST on Monday, April 30.

New Bedford, Massachusetts
Monday, April 16, 2018
Fairfield Inn and Suites Waypoint Event Center, Sealoft Room,
185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center
130 Center Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Nantucket, Massachusetts
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Nantucket Middle School, Cafeteria
10 Surfside Road, Nantucket, Massachusetts 02554
Open House 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 12:00 p.m.

Hyannis, Massachusetts
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Double Tree Hotel, Cape Cod Room
287 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601
Open House 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:30 p.m.

Kingston, Rhode Island
Thursday, April 19, 2018
University of Rhode Island, Ryan Center, Alumni Lounge
1 Lincoln Almond Plaza, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Detailed information about the proposed wind energy facility, including the COP, can be found here.

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