NEW BEDFORD – Vineyard Wind warned Thursday that its 84-turbine wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard could be at risk if the project does not clear a federal environmental hurdle soon.
The company said it has communicated to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that unless its environmental review is completed within four to six weeks, continuing with the wind farm “in its current configuration” would be “very challenging.”
Vineyard Wind spokesman Scott Farmelant told The Standard-Times that to meet its contractual obligations to electric utilities to deliver power by a certain date, it has entered into contracts for hundreds of millions of dollars with manufacturers and construction companies. Those contracts have their own timelines.
Plus, investors need time to confirm the investment facts and organize their financing, he said.
“None of those activities can be easily postponed,” he said.
Most of them require execution by a certain date, or the commitments could be lost indefinitely. For example, he said, a specialized vessel coming from the Gulf of Mexico will probably be contracted elsewhere for several years if Vineyard Wind misses the planned schedule.
“So it is simply not possible for it to be rescheduled for a later date,” he said.
In response to Vineyard Wind’s written statement earlier in the day, a BOEM spokesperson said the agency is aware of Vineyard Wind’s “preferred” timeline.
The spokesperson said offshore wind facilities are major infrastructure projects that must undergo appropriate review and approval, and BOEM’s environmental review is ongoing.
Because construction of offshore turbines is highly seasonal, a delay of even a few weeks can postpone an entire year’s work, Vineyard Wind said.
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