The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has approved the site assessment plan (SAP) for Bay State Wind, a utility-scale offshore wind project proposed off the coast of Massachusetts.
According to DONG Energy and New England transmission builder Eversource, both of which comprise the Bay State Wind joint venture, this marks BOEM’s first approval of an offshore wind SAP.
In April 2015, DONG Energy secured project development rights to the wind farm’s 300-square-mile ocean area located 15-25 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The area was made available for lease by BOEM in a competitive solicitation.
Last August, Massachusetts formally adopted a comprehensive energy bill including a mandate that state utilities purchase 1.6 GW of offshore wind power. In June, Massachusetts utilities took their first step toward fulfilling the mandate with a request for proposals to build the state’s first project.
Bay State Wind will submit a proposal for the Massachusetts contracts, which will be awarded in 2018. DONG Energy will continue to lead the development and construction of the project’s offshore generation and transmission assets, while Eversource will develop and construct the onshore transmission asset. According to the partners, the project could generate enough electricity to power 1 million Massachusetts homes and create hundreds of jobs throughout the life of the wind farm.
“We are thrilled to be the first in the country to receive this approval from BOEM and to be a part of this huge step forward for the offshore wind industry in the U.S.,” says Thomas Brostrøm, North America president of DONG Energy. “Bay State Wind will produce reliable clean energy for Massachusetts with scale that maximizes job creation, cost-effectiveness and economic benefits for Massachusetts and local communities.”
“This is a significant milestone for the project and an important step forward in helping Massachusetts meet its climate change goals,” adds Mike Ausere, vice president of business strategy at Eversource.
According to the partners, the BOEM approval paved the way for Bay State Wind’s next crucial step, the deployment of the FLiDAR WindSentinel system off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard to measure wave and wind speeds in the project’s lease area. The system, being deployed for two years, includes a camera to broadcast images from the system as it collects data – viewable online 24/7 here.