Vineyard Wind Officials Concerned with Environmental Review Delay

NEW BEDFORD – Vineyard Wind officials are warning federal regulators that further delay without the release of an environmental review could jeopardize the project.

The company has informed the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that if an Environmental Impact Statement is not issued within the next four to six weeks “it would be very challenging to move forward the Vineyard Wind 1 project in its current configuration.”

In a statement, Vineyard Wind said BOEM has indicated they understand the reasons for this constraint and will communicate the companies concerns to the Secretary of the Interior, who is responsible for the final action on the project.

Vineyard Wind has also reached out directly to the Secretary about its concerns regarding the EIS delay.

The project, which would be located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, would be the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind facility.

The proposed 800-megawatt wind farm would include more than 80 turbines and generate enough energy to power 400,000 homes.

The EIS is part of the project’s comprehensive public and regulatory review process that involves an evaluation by more than 25 federal, state, and local regulatory bodies.

The project has received permits or approvals from several boards and agencies, including the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office, the Cape Cod Commission, the Barnstable Conservation Commission, the Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Commission, and the Nantucket Conservation Commission.

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council also gave the project a policy consistency determination.

Vineyard Wind officials say many stakeholders ranging from business organizations, small business owners, local construction unions, project area residents and elected officials have reached out recently to reaffirm support for the project.

“This broad support has only increased our already high level of commitment, and confidence in the timely completion of this important energy project,” the statement said.

The project was expected to be operational by 2022.

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