EIA ruling delays Vineyard wind scheme

21 August 2019

The shareholders in the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm project have confirmed the project will be developed with a revised schedule in light of a US Interior Department ruling to extend an environmental study.

The Interior Department announced plans to delay publication of Vineyard’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and to instead undertake a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement process.

Vineyard Wind – backed by Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners – says that the decision means its original schedule for the 800 MW wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, USA, is no longer feasible.

In a statement, Vineyard Wind said: “It is clear that the timing of [the supplemental process] is not compatible with the original timeline that has been communicated to Vineyard Wind since March 2018, which Vineyard Wind used to build its delivery schedule.

“Vineyard Wind will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including our contractors, policy makers, and many supporters, to evaluate options for delivering the project at a later time.”

Permitting of the Vineyard Wind Connector, the cable connection from the project site to the regional grid, will continue as planned in advance of the revised project, the company added.

The Interior Department’s position appears to have been in part motivated by the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which has indicated the supplemental process is needed to examine the effects from the many offshore wind projects that are expected to be built of the US East coast over the next decade.

Many of the wind farms have drawn opposition from fishermen and coastal communities.

Vineyard Wind was due to start operating in early 2022. It has a contract to sell power to three Massachusetts utilities for $65/MWh.

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