Vineyard Wind Partners with UMass Dartmouth to Study Impacts of Offshore Wind Development

NEW BEDFORD – To further help inform the public about the impacts of offshore wind development Vineyard Wind is partnering with UMass Dartmouth.

The offshore wind company and the university’s School for Marine Science and Technology will conduct pre- and post-construction assessments of fisheries and ecological conditions for the proposed 800 megawatt wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard.

The assessments would be used to inform future permitting and public policy decisions regarding wind energy facility siting.

“The fishing industry has raised important questions about the impacts of offshore wind development on the marine environment and on sea life, and a comprehensive research effort is needed to provide answers and identify possible solutions,” said Erich Stephens, the chief development officer for Vineyard Wind.

“Our goal in collaborating with the School of Marine Science and Technology is to use our project, which we expect to be the first large-scale offshore wind project in the US, to begin to establish a robust body of knowledge that will benefit the American offshore wind industry and the fishing community for decades to come.”

Under the terms of the collaboration, SMAST staff will solicit input from fisheries’ representatives, policy makers, regulators and academics beginning in the spring of 2018. The phase includes planning for assessment schedules, budgets and objectives. The objective of the scoping exercise is to identify the research questions most relevant and important for understanding how offshore wind and the fishing industry can grow alongside each other.

The initial funding for the scoping process will be provided by Vineyard Wind.

The proposed Vineyard Wind project is 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, and would generate enough electricity to power up to 400,000 homes.

The proposal is still in the permitting process and calls for construction to begin in 2019.

It is one of three companies seeking to develop and offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind has made it through the first step of state’s environmental review.

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office has issued a certificate for Vineyard Wind’s Environmental Notification Form.

The project will now move ahead with the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The DEIR is expected to be issued later this spring and will be subject to additional comment.

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