A stock photo of a vessel servicing an offshore wind farm at sunset

A stock photo of a vessel servicing an offshore wind farm at sunset. Photo: Eddytb Foto/Shutterstock

Biden Administration Initiates Environmental Review of Beacon Wind Project Off Massachusetts

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1896
June 29, 2023

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will begin the environmental review of a proposed 2.4-gigawatt (GW) wind energy project offshore Massachusetts.

BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Beacon Wind, the 50-50 joint venture between Equinor and BP.

The project marks the 11th offshore wind energy COP review under the Biden-Harris administration.

The Beacon Wind project lease area is located approximately 17 nautical miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts and 52 nm east of Montauk, New York. The development and construction phases of the project could support up to 6,491 jobs.

Beacon Wind has proposed the construction and operation of two wind energy facilities offshore Massachusetts with a total capacity of at least 2,430 megawatts, which could power over 850,000 homes each year. The proposal includes up to 155 turbines, two offshore substation platforms, and two offshore export cables planned to make landfall in Astoria, New York, and Waterford, Connecticut.

“BOEM is advancing the Administration’s ambitious energy goals while remaining diligent in our efforts to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to ocean users and the marine environment,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “As part of our environmental review process, we seek input from Tribes, our government partners, the fishing community, and other ocean users to inform our next steps.”

The Beacon Wind project is split into two phases. The first phase, Beacon Wind 1, is in the permitting process and will provide 1,230 MW of offshore wind power to New York State, with first power expected in the late 2020s. The second phase, Beacon Wind 2, will be developed in the future and is similar in size to Beacon Wind 1.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has made significant progress in advancing offshore wind projects, including approving the nation’s first two commercial scale projects, holding three lease auctions, initiating environmental review of 10 projects, and exploring additional Wind Energy Areas.

“Beacon Wind 1 will generate enough renewable energy to power more than one million New York homes and will also be a significant driver of economic development in the region. Beacon Wind 2 has the potential to power over a million additional U.S. homes once contracted,” said Molly Morris, President, Equinor Renewables Americas. “We will continue to closely engage with federal officials, state regulators, and a wide range of interested stakeholders as we work together to advance one of the largest offshore wind projects in the U.S.”

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