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Wind turbines off of Block Island

Wind turbines at Orsted's Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, one of two commercial offshore wind farms in the United States. Credit: PennyJack Creative/Shutterstock

Proposed Offshore Wind Project Off Massachusetts Moves Forward

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1041
December 21, 2022

The federal agency responsible for managing United States’ offshore energy resources has issued its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) providing details of the proposed New England Wind energy project offshore Massachusetts.

The draft EIS is the latest action the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has taken to expand domestic offshore wind capacity in line with the Biden Administration’s target of 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.

If approved, this proposed 2.6 GW New England Wind project could provide power for more than 900,000 homes. A construction and operation plan (COP) submitted by project developer Park City, LLC, proposes to develop the lease area in two phases, known as Park City Wind (Phase 1) and Commonwealth Wind (Phase 2), or collectively referred to as New England Wind.

The New England Wind project lease area, known Lease Area OCS-A 0534, encompasses 101,590 acres that were awarded to Vineyard Wind LLC in a 2015 lease sale and transferred to Park City Wind, LLC in December 2021.

The proposal includes up to 129 wind turbines and up to five offshore electrical service platforms with a total of five offshore export cables. The project will be located about 20 nautical miles (nm) south of Martha’s Vineyard and about 24 nm southwest of Nantucket. The onshore components of the project will include up to three export cable landfalls in Massachusetts (one for Phase 1 and up to two for Phase 2) and up to three onshore substations: one in Barnstable, Massachusetts, for Phase 1 and up to two in Barnstable or Bristol County, Massachusetts, for Phase 2.

Lease Area OCS-A 0534

A notice of availability to be published in the Federal Register on Dec. 23 will open a 60-day public comment period that will inform preparation of the final EIS. BOEM will use the findings of the EIS to inform its decision on whether to approve the New England Wind COP, and if so, which mitigation measures to require.

Under the Biden Administration, BOEM has initiated the environmental review of ten offshore wind projects. New England Wind represents the sixth to reach the draft EIS stage of review. The? Department of the Interior?has also approved the nation’s first two commercial scale offshore wind projects ?and has held three offshore wind lease auctions.? BOEM this year has also the identified two final Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico and eight ?draft Wind Energy Areas ?in the Central Atlantic.?

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