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New England Wind Advances for Massachusetts; Offshore Wind Public Input Sought

New England Wind's Park City Wind, Commonwealth Wind Advance; Former Massachusetts Vineyard Wind Projects Seek Public Input

Massachusetts offshore wind power is taking the next step toward becoming a reality as a 60-day public comment period opens this week on Dec. 23 to help the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) complete its environmental review of two pending projects by Park City Wind off the coast of Massachusetts.

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. 

Park City, LLC submitted a construction and operation plan (COP) for its proposal to develop the wind energy facilities and their associated export cables on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore of Massachusetts.  The proposal entails two phases of infrastructure installation, known as Park City Wind (Phase 1) and Commonwealth Wind (Phase 2), collectively referred to as New England Wind—formerly Vineyard Wind South).  

In advance of opening the comment period on Dec. 23, the BOEM announced the availability of its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed New England Wind energy project offshore Massachusetts. If approved, the proposed 2,600-megawatt project could provide power for more than 900,000 homes. 

The New England Wind draft EIS can be found on BOEM’s website, and the notice of availability will publish in the Federal Register on Dec. 23, 2022, which will open a 60-day public comment period that ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 21, 2023. The input received via this process 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. 

If approved, this proposed 2,600-megawatt project could provide power for more than 900,000 homes.   

To date, the BOEM has initiated the environmental review of 10 projects, with more to come.  Of these, New England Wind represents the sixth project to reach the draft EIS stage of review by BOEM.  In addition to this week’s action, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first two commercial scale offshore wind projects and held three offshore wind lease auctions.

Other milestones achieved in 2022 include the identification of two final Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico and eight draft Wind Energy Areas in the Central Atlantic.  

During the Massachusetts comment period, BOEM will hold three virtual public meetings where the public can learn more about the review process, the EIS schedule, potential impacts from the proposed project, and proposals to reduce potential impacts. Participants also will have the opportunity to provide comments on the draft EIS. The public meetings will be held on the following dates and times. All times are Eastern: 

  • Fri., Jan. 27, 2023 – 1p.m.  
  • Wed., Feb. 1, 2023 – 5 p.m.
  • Mon., Feb. 6, 2023 – 5 p.m. 

A virtual meeting room will be on BOEM’s website HERE starting on Dec. 23, 2022. It will be available throughout the 60-day comment period and will include information about the draft EIS, as well as how to register for the virtual public meetings and provide comments. 

More information, including meeting registration and instructions for commenting, will be available in the Virtual Public Meeting Room on Dec. 23, 2022. 

More information on the proposed New England Wind project can be found on BOEM’s website: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/new-england-wind-formerly-vineyard-wind-south.  

Massachusetts Wind History

The two Massachusetts areas in focus this week were originally leased to Vineyard Wind, LLC as a single area on April 1, 2015.  In 2021, the leased area was approved as two separate areas, with the same original effective date.

Late last year, the BOEM approved the assignment of one of the areas to Park City Wind, which has exclusive the right to submit a COP for activities within it.  The majority of the New England Wind project is proposed within Lease OCS-A 0534, with a small portion of the area within Lease OCS-A 0501 also identified for potential development. However, any development of the area within Lease OCS-A 0501 would require an additional (future) lease assignment.

To see the complete lease history click HERE.

Guice Offshore Has the Jones Act-Compliant Supply, Support and Platform Vessels To Help Meet America’s Offshore Wind Goals

In response to the March 2022 National Renewable Energy Laboratory report outlining in part the need for six types of offshore vessels in order to fulfill offshore wind power supply chain needs to reach the United States’ national offshore wind goal of 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, Guice Offshore (“GO”) Vice President David Scheyd said:

“Our growing fleet of Jones Act-compliant, dynamically positioned offshore supply vessels, mini supply vessels and platform vessels is well positioned to help meet our nation’s wind energy infrastructure installation and service goal deadlines, whether it’s crew transfer, service, cable laying, subsea work like scour protection or equipment transportation.”

To get a link to the report, entitled “The Demand for a Domestic Offshore Wind Energy Supply Chain,” and its concurrent   report, “America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition,” click here:  https://lnkd.in/gXMGRmqj

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