Shareholders in Vineyard Wind have affirmed their commitment to deliver a proposed 800-MW wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, albeit with a delayed project schedule.
Courtesy of NREL
This decision follows the August 9th determination by the U.S. Department of the Interior to delay publication of the Vineyard Wind 1 project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and to instead undertake a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement process.
According to the department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, it is “expanding its cumulative analysis of projects within its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Because BOEM has determined that a greater build out of offshore wind capacity is more reasonably foreseeable than was analyzed in the initial draft EIS, BOEM has decided to supplement the Draft EIS and solicit comments on its revised cumulative impacts analysis.
“BOEM anticipates completing the Supplemental EIS late this year or early next year,” the department said.
Publication of the FEIS was one of the final steps for Vineyard Wind 1 in the federal permitting process that began in 2017 and had since been targeted for completion by August 16th. The review process has encompassed evaluation by more than 25 federal, state, and local regulatory agencies and commissions.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., commenting on the delay, said, “The Trump Administration's last-minute decision to delay approval of a major offshore wind energy project is extremely disappointing. I urge the Administration to work towards a solution that will protect the environment, address the concerns raised by our local fishermen, and allow the Vineyard Wind project to move forward without delay."
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt explained the decision in an interview with Bloomberg News Friday, saying, “It’s crucial the impacts be thoroughly studied. For offshore wind to thrive on the outer continental shelf, the federal government has to dot their I’s and cross their T’s.
“If it’s going to be developed, it needs to be developed in a way that everyone gets to say, at least, that we didn’t shave the ball,” Bernhardt said.
Vineyard Wind states it has not yet received any documentation as to the requirements for the expanded analysis that BOEM has indicated but says, “It is clear that the timing of such an analysis is not compatible with the original timeline that has been communicated to Vineyard Wind since March 2018, which Vineyard Wind used to build its delivery schedule. With this development, the shareholders must revise the project as the original timeline is no longer feasible.”
According to the company, permitting of the Vineyard Wind Connector, the cable connection from the project site to the regional grid, will continue as planned in advance of the revised project. Vineyard Wind will also use the delay to further improve the project and enhance its many benefits, to the extent feasible.
Since filing its construction and operations plan with BOEM, Vineyard Wind’s efforts have been subject to Executive Order 13807, issued by the Trump Administration in August 2017, which created the One Federal Decision (OFD) policy.
As the first privately proposed major energy infrastructure project subject to OFD, state and federal regulators worked closely with Vineyard Wind to ensure that efficient permitting of the project would feature a clear, transparent and coordinated timeline established by DOI to finalize environmental reviews and authorization decisions.
The project has already received multiple permits and approvals. In April, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved long-term power purchase contracts between Vineyard Wind and Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) for the delivery of clean, affordable offshore wind energy by January 2022.
Vineyard Wind LLC is an offshore wind development company seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the US, to be located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind, based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is 50 percent owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent by Avangrid Renewables.
Media -DEP Ignoring Ocean Turbine Dangers For Political Agenda Fishing Concerns Over Marthas\' Vineyard 220 Kv Electric Submarine Cable & Wind Turbines Spacing Ignored By Politically Charged Media Martha\'s Vineyard 8/13/19 The Edgartown Conservation Commission on Martha\'s Vineyard voted in July to deny the ocean wind turbine application to lay transmission cables that would pass about a mile east of Edgartown. The cables carry 220,000 AC volts of electricity each emitting heat, an electromagnetic field and noise. Commercial fishermen questioned the adverse effects of the cables at the public hearing last month. In addition, the fishing industry is concerned over the spacing of the turbines and the power towers called Electric Service Platforms larger than an office building in downtown Boston. The ocean wind company has asked the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection a failed state agency for a Superseding Order of Conditions to overrule the Edgartown Conservation Commission. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is facing Regulatory Capture itself as it has in the past brokered loans on the failed land-based wind turbine projects in spite of health and property rights. MassDEP arranged what Falmouth residents thought was a federal ARRA grant to build their Falmouth Wind II second wind turbine. The money was a PRA, Project Regulatory Agreement, with the state agency. As a result of the loan MassDEP in the past ten years has never invoked its state regulations against a land-based wind turbine. MassDEP recently held a conference call between the ocean wind turbine company and the Edgartown Conservation Board announcing the day after the public could listen in on the call by dialing a special number. The media went along with pulling the Wool over the public making the announcement the day after the call -no one heard the call. MassDEP has no qualified people to determine the heat, noise and electromagnetic field from the electric cables but promises a result right away. The answer was known prior to the question. Questioning again the political agenda of MassDEP and the media. In addition, it may be worth mentioning the corruption on Beacon Hill. The last three Speakers of the House Massachusetts were all involved with corruption. House Speaker Sal DiMasi considered the Father of the Green Communities Act severed eight years in federal prison. The federal government\'s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) delayed its environmental approval over the electric submarine cable and spacing of the wind turbines. ---------------------------------------------------- The federal government continues to study the electric cables, wind turbines and up to two massive ESP Electric Service Platforms: Socio-Economic Impact of Outer Continental Shelf Wind Energy Development on Fisheries in the U.S. Atlantic Volume II—Appendices U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Office of Renewable Energy Programs Page 168 IV.i.ii Impact of Electromagnetic Fields \"Research on the effect of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on a variety of species is ongoing, following concerns regarding the behavioral and ecological impacts of submarine cables associated with offshore WEAs. Some fishes such as elasmobranchs, which include spiny dogfish and most species within the NE Skate Complex, are known to sense EMF, and other fishes including sturgeon may also be affected. \" IV.i.iii Impact of Noise \"Noise during the construction phase (e.g., pile driving) and during the operational phase (i.e., turbine vibration under operating conditions) may alter the behavior and commercially exploitable biomass of fishes in the vicinity of the developed WEAs. Research on fish hearing has been performed for more than 50 years, but large knowledge gaps in the understanding of the relationship between hearing mechanism and sound production, and its relevance to fish behavior persist\"