Vineyard Wind’s, the $2.8 billion, 800-megawatt offshore wind project planned for waters off Martha’s Vineyard, appears to have been delayed, perhaps significantly, by the federal government, the State House News Service reported Friday.
Last month, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management notified project officials that the government was “not yet prepared” to issue a final environmental impact statement, which had been that month.
It’s the latest blow in what’s been a difficult stretch for the offshore wind farm company, which hopes to erect 84 wind turbines about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The Edgartown conservation commission denied permission for an undersea cable to pass by Chappaquiddick, a decision that’s under appeal with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
In a statement Friday afternoon, project officials referenced “the federal government’s decision to further delay the approval of the FEIS for the Vineyard Wind 1 project” and an apparent plan to study the cumulative impacts of the various offshore wind projects in different stages of development up and down the coast.
“To be clear, the Vineyard Wind 1 project remains viable and continues to move forward,” project officials said in a statement. “While we appreciate that the discussion on cumulative impacts is driven by rapid growth of the industry beyond our project, we urge the federal government to complete the review of Vineyard Wind 1 as quickly as possible. The project is poised to kickstart a new offshore wind industry that promises industrial growth along with new manufacturing and blue-collar employment across the United States from New England to Louisiana to Colorado and beyond.”
Project officials acknowledged that Friday’s news will delay their project and others, Vineyard Wind said it “remains deeply committed” to the project and the offshore wind industry at large. Officials from BOEM were not immediately available Friday afternoon.
The Baker administration worked with utility companies to choose Vineyard Wind, which administration officials have touted as potentially the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project. Baker has since gone on to push for support for the Vineyard Wind project in Washington. The project has the support of both the Massachusetts house and senate. However several fishermen’s organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Long Island have criticized the wind farm proposal on numerous fronts.
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