The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project
The conclusion of the review is critical for the project and the future of American offshore wind development, Vineyard Wind being the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the country.
BOEM is due to issue the final supplemental statement for the project on 13 November 2020 and a record of decision on 18 December 2020.
Responding to the milestone, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Business Network for Offshore Wind and National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) all commended BOEM for issuing the statement on schedule, especially as the agency had to adapt to new workplace realities due to Covid-19.
AWEA chief executive Tom Kiernan said, “BOEM has taken the first in a series of important steps in finally unlocking the enormous potential for offshore wind to deliver clean, reliable power to major population centres in the US.
“This first step will help our country catch up to other nations that are already safely and successfully operating offshore windfarms.
“We look forward to reviewing the report and its implications and urge the administration to finalise the assessment in a timely manner, allowing the American offshore wind industry to invest billions of dollars into the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs across the country.
“The offshore wind industry is committed to working closely with other ocean users and remains confident that the deployment of offshore wind is compatible with commercial fishing and safe navigation, as has been demonstrated for years in other countries.”
Business Network president and chief executive Liz Burdock praised BOEM’s “commitment to staying on time and on target.”
She said, “Approving the Vineyard Wind project will unleash offshore wind’s economic power. Tier 1 suppliers will invest in the US using money that has been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the green light from BOEM.
“Final approval of Supplemental EIS this fall will have a domino effect leading to the construction of 9.0 GW of offshore wind by the end of 2030.
“It will also kickstart a decade that will see the creation of a multi-trillion dollar US blue economy employing thousands with family-sustaining salaries during a time the US should aid millions of unemployed service workers.”
NOIA president Erik Milito said the Vineyard Wind supplemental EIS “brings us a step closer towards thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth.”
Mr Milito described the milestone in the project as “great news as America looks for ways to recover the economy.”
He said offshore wind can be a pipeline of jobs and growth throughout America, especially along the Gulf Coast where companies already have the expertise and experience needed to build a new offshore energy sector.
“The Vineyard Wind project will be a win for the American people, energy development and the environment,” he concluded.
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