Matthew A. Beaton, Massachusetts’ secretary of energy and environmental affairs (EEA), has certified the final environmental impact report (FEIR) for Vineyard Wind’s 800 MW offshore wind proposal.
According to Vineyard Wind, the decision finalizes the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review process for the proposed offshore wind generation and transmission project, allowing it to proceed with state, regional and local permitting.
“The MEPA environmental review process provided a significant benefit to the project, allowing numerous stakeholders, advocacy groups and interested citizens to help identify and address impacts so they can be effectively managed or mitigated,” says Erich Stephens, chief development officer of Vineyard Wind. “Our team will continue to work collaboratively with state, regional and local regulatory agencies – as well as all stakeholders – as the project moves forward.”
With MEPA’s certification, the project will now seek permit review from the Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard commissions and the Barnstable Conservation Commission, among others.
According to the developer, FEIR certification represents the latest key milestone for the project as it advances through permitting.
Progress to date includes ongoing review of the power purchase agreements by the Department of Public Utilities, expected to conclude in March; execution of a host community agreement with the Town of Barnstable in October 2018; completion of evidentiary hearings before the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board in October 2018, with a tentative decision expected in March and final decision anticipated in early April; execution of a lease with the 26-acre New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in October 2018 to support construction of the Vineyard Wind project; and selection of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind as the preferred supplier of V164 9.5 MW offshore wind turbines.