Vineyard Wind Resubmits Plan for Energy Farm Off Mass. Coast
Vineyard Wind has told the Biden administration it will resubmit its plans for an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard.
In the waning weeks of the Trump administration, the offshore wind company suddenly pulled its construction and operations plan, or COP, off the table, fueling speculation in some corners that the project was in trouble. At the time, they said they yanked the plan because they had changed their mind about the size and power of turbines they wanted to use.
But today, only days after President Joe Biden was sworn in, Vineyard Wind said no changes are needed in its COP, and that it believes the federal permitting process should be able to move forward before the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM.
"Since there are no changes required to the COP, we expect that BOEM can finalize their review based on the extensive analysis and studies of the project over the last three years," Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said. "We look forward to completing the permitting phase of the project and to finalizing the engineering, contracting and financing of the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the US."
Back in December, with the construction plan off the table, the Trump administration declared Vineyard Wind's entire permitting process "terminated." BOEM then declared there was no longer a proposal on the table, even though years of study pre-dated the construction plan. However, the agency said if Vineyard Wind submitted a new plan, it would "begin an appropriate environmental and technical review," but was not specific about what that meant.
Moving forward, it remains unclear how the BOEM will respond to Vineyard Wind's re-submission with new leadership in the White House. The regulators could ask the company to start over from square one, or it could let things resume where they left off last December.
Vineyard Wind has pledged to use the state-owned Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford Harbor to stage its operations, and has promised to create thousands of jobs. The permitting process has run into snags and delays, in part because of concerns expressed by the commercial fishing industry.
Vineyard Wind is a partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables. Today they said they are still "slated to become the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States," still expect to financially close in the second half of 2021, and plan to begin delivering wind energy to Massachusetts homes and businesses in 2023. Vineyard Wind was chosen by the Baker administration in a clean energy RFP.