BOEM Announces Environmental Review of Proposed Vineyard Northeast Offshore Wind Energy Project

(Image credit: BOEM)

In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it will initiate an environmental review of Vineyard Northeast’s proposed offshore wind energy project, located 29 miles offshore Nantucket, Massachusetts at its closest point.

BOEM estimates the proposed project would generate up to 2,600 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power more than 900,000 homes with clean renewable energy.

On March 25, BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Vineyard Northeast, LLC. This is the 13th COP review initiated under the Biden-Harris administration.

“The Biden-Harris administration is steadfast in our dedication to collaborating with Tribal nations, government agencies, environmental groups, local communities, and ocean stakeholders,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “Through collective effort, we can establish a robust, sustainable offshore wind sector that guarantees communities nationwide reap the rewards of domestically sourced clean, reliable renewable energy.”

The approximately 132,370-acre Lease Area is located some 29 miles (mi) from Nantucket and approximately 39 mi offshore Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. See BOEM’s website for a map of the lease area.

Highlights from Vineyard Northeast’s proposal include the following:

  • Installation of up to 160 wind turbine generators, up to three electrical service platforms (ESPs), and one booster station in an adjacent lease area.
  • Two offshore export cable corridors—one to Connecticut and one to Massachusetts—and associated onshore transmission systems.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first six commercial scale offshore wind projects, held four offshore wind lease auctions—including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sale offshore the Pacific and Gulf Coasts, initiated environmental review of 13 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional Wind Energy Areas in Oregon, Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic. The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic based supply chain.

Public Meetings and Comment Period

The publication of the NOI in the Federal Register on March 25, 2024, will open a 45-day public comment period for the Vineyard Northeast EIS ending at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 9, 2024. BOEM proactively extended its standard 30-day comment period to 45 days in order to account for the Atlantic Shores North NOI 45-day public comment period announced earlier this this month.

During the public comment period, BOEM will hold two virtual and two in-person public meetings on the following dates and times. All times are Eastern.

Virtual meetings: (registration is required)

  • Monday, April 15, 2024, 1:00 p.m. Zoom Registration LINK
  • Monday, April 22, 2024, 5:00 p.m. Zoom Registration LINK

In-person meetings:

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 5:00–9:00 p.m. Clark Auditorium, Mitchell College, 437 Pequot Avenue, New London, CT 06320
  • Thursday, April 18, 2024, 5:00–9:00 p.m. Westport High School Cafeteria, 17 Main Road, Westport, MA 02790

Registration for the virtual public meetings and detailed information about the proposed wind energy project, including how to comment, can be found on BOEM’s website.

Next Steps

The public comment period for the NOI will help identify what BOEM may consider as part of its environmental review of the Vineyard Northeast project COP. Throughout the scoping process, multiple opportunities exist to help BOEM determine the important resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives, and potential mitigating measures that should be analyzed in the EIS. BOEM will review the comments to identify issues and potential alternatives for consideration in the Vineyard Northeast EIS.

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