July 12 (Renewables Now) - The developers of the 800-MW Vineyard Wind offshore wind project in the US received bad news on two fronts this week as they were denied a permit for the undersea cables that would connect the park to mainland Massachusetts, and left without a key environmental document.
The 84-turbine project secured in May permits for connection to the regional grid and soon after that it was announced that Prysmian SpA (BIT:PRY) had been selected to deliver the submarine cable system. Late on Wednesday, however, the Edgartown Conservation Commission voted 5-1 to deny the export cables application under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.
Vineyard Wind LLC, a 50/50 partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Avangrid Renewables LLC, planned to bury two cables of 400 MW each. The commission’s decision was taken due to the expected adverse impact on an area “critical for the protection of marine fisheries, land containing shellfish, storm damage prevention, flood control and protection of wildlife habitat.”
Again on Wednesday, Vineyard Wind announced that it had been informed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) that they were not yet prepared to issue a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.
“We understand that, as the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the US, the Vineyard Wind project will undergo extraordinary review before receiving approvals,” the developers said. They added that changes to the schedule can be expected when working on a project of this scale and complexity.
The project has to go through more than 25 federal, state, and local approval processes. Before the latest developments, its developers expected to be able to launch construction late in 2019 and have the park fully operational in 2022.