The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the availability of a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for Cape Wind’s long-delayed wind farm proposed off the coast of Massachusetts.
Last summer, a federal court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and BOEM were not in compliance with the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act, respectively, when they issued a lease for the project. In turn, the developer was ordered to “supplement its 2009 Environmental Impact Statement to further address seafloor and subsurface issues.”
The 468 MW wind farm, which would comprise 130 Siemens turbines, was proposed by Cape Wind Associates LLC (CWA) back in November 2001. Prior to BOEM’s involvement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assumed the lead federal regulatory role and issued a draft EIS in November 2004.
Over the years, the offshore project been met with a number of roadblocks, including the termination of its power purchase agreements (PPAs) back at the start of 2015: Utilities National Grid and NSTAR both killed their 15-year PPAs, contracted in 2010 and 2012, respectively, after they claimed Cape Wind did not meet financing and construction agreements.
According to BOEM, Cape Wind has met nearly all of BOEM’s regulatory requirements for the project; however, still are still some “remaining lease stipulations and conditions of [construction and operations plan] approval that CWA must satisfy.”
In February 2015, CWA submitted a request for a two-year suspension of the operations term of its commercial lease. BOEM approved the lease suspension on July 24, 2015; in turn, no construction or installation activities may occur until July 24 of this year.
Federal, state, tribal and local governments and/or agencies and other interested parties may submit written comments on the draft SEIS, which is available for review here. Comments should be submitted or postmarked no later than May 15, says BOEM.