Vineyard Wind Project Faces Additional Environmental Review

Aug 16, 2019

by ASME.org

The Trump administration recently announced a delay in granting a permit for the first proposed major U.S. offshore wind farm. Before the offshore wind farm can go ahead, the administration has determined that it must review and approve a final environmental impact statement (EIS).

This new EIS will look at the cumulative impact of a large number of offshore wind developments that have been proposed along the East Coast. The first development by company Vineyard Wind, is a $2.8 billion, 800-megawatt project that has been contracted to sell power to Massachusetts. The development is a $65 per megawatt-hour enterprise, and is a stark example of just how cost-effective offshore wind technology has become.  Prior to this delay, the development was scheduled to be operational by early 2022.

This delay has now put the development’s operational timeline in jeopardy, but Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt explained that it is imperative that all impacts of the burgeoning offshore wind market be thoroughly reviewed. “For offshore wind to thrive on the continental shelf, the federal government has to dot their I’s and cross their T’s,” he said.

Vineyard Wind’s initial development is to be located south of Martha’s Vineyard, and is the first of many planned for the East Coast. Other states such as New York, Maine, and New Jersey have also established aggressive clean energy targets they intend to achieve through wind energy. Over the next decade, offshore wind is expected to burgeon into a $70 billion industry.