The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Thursday it is about to open a 30-day public comment period for an offshore wind farm, Revolution Wind, planned for waters south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
This comment period kicks off the environmental review of the project. If BOEM approves it, Revolution Wind would be allowed to construct and operate an 880-megawatt (MW) wind energy facility. The Vineyard Wind project is slated to be 800 MW.
BOEM will hold three virtual public meetings and accept comments to inform the preparation of the environmental impact statement.
“Public input plays an essential role in identifying and mitigating any potential impacts from proposed energy development activities,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton in a statement. “BOEM is committed to ensuring that any future offshore wind development is done safely and responsibly, and with the benefit of feedback from critical stakeholders.”
The Biden-Harris administration has set a target of 30 gigawatts (or 30,000 MW) of installed offshore wind energy by 2030. The Revolution Wind project could directly create 1,200 jobs in Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well as thousands of induced jobs, according to BOEM.
Revolution Wind is a partnership between Ørsted and Eversource, according to the company website. The proposal includes plans for up to 100 turbines in federal waters approximately 17.4 nautical miles south of Rhode Island.
BOEM states the Revolution Wind export cable would make landfall in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and would interconnect to a transmission system owned and operated by National Grid.
According to a March 2021 report by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), New Bedford, based on a 12-year revenue analysis, would be the second-most impacted port.
The Port of New Bedford landed about $3.1 million worth of fish over 12 years from the Revolution Wind Area, according to the analysis, or about $263,000 per year on average. It’s a small portion of the annual landings revenue, which was $431 million in 2018.
In 2019, about 66 vessels from New Bedford made a combined 600 trips to the project area, according to data available to NOAA Fisheries.
The 30-day public comment period extends through 11:59 p.m. on June 1. The virtual public meeting dates are May 13 at 5:30 p.m., May 18 at 5:30 p.m. and May 20 at 1 p.m.
Registration for the meetings may be completed at www.boem.gov/Revolution-Wind-Scoping-Virtual-Meetings.
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