Epsilon is leading the federal, state, regional, and local permitting for two pioneering offshore wind energy projects proposed by Vineyard Wind, LLC.
As a result of the Commonwealth’s goal to source 3,200 MW of electricity from offshore wind by 2035 and similar drives by other New England states, Vineyard Wind is working hard to bring its offshore wind projects to fruition. The Wind Turbine Generators for Vineyard Wind’s projects undergoing permitting will be located on the Outer Continental Shelf in federal Lease Area OCS-A 0501, which is more than 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
The 800-MW Vineyard Wind 1 project is on track to be the first commercial utility-scale offshore wind farm constructed in the United States. Epsilon managed the preparation of the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) detailing the Project’s planned construction and operational activities as required by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the lead federal permitting agency. Epsilon’s talented team of energy experts, engineers, coastal scientists, and ecologists has been instrumental in achieving Vineyard Wind’s aggressive schedule milestones. BOEM’s Record of Decision on Vineyard Wind 1 is expected in 2021.
State-jurisdictional transmission from the Project, permitted as the Vineyard Wind Connector 1, has completed its full suite of state, regional, and local permits and reviews. This has included those by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office, Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Cape Cod Commission, Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and the Nantucket, Edgartown, and Barnstable Conservation Commissions. Assuming completion of federal permitting and the planned financial close, construction is estimated to begin in 2021 and will be continuous.
In mid-2019, Epsilon also began to work with Vineyard Wind to permit the phased build-out of the remaining portion of the Lease Area not occupied by Vineyard Wind 1. This additional build-out, known as 501 South, consists of the 804-MW Park City Wind Project as well as the second phase of development which will occupy the remainder of the Lease Area. A COP for both phases of the 501 South development was submitted to BOEM in July 2020, and state permitting for transmission associated with Park City Wind, known as the Vineyard Wind Connector 2, kicked off with submissions to the EFSB and MEPA Office in May and June 2020, respectively. Offshore field studies are underway for 501 South/Vineyard Wind Connector 2, and Epsilon is leading the federal, state, regional, and local permitting efforts for this second development proposed by Vineyard Wind.
Epsilon continues to work closely with Vineyard Wind, BOEM, and other involved parties to design, coordinate, and conduct extensive technical studies for both projects. This helps to inform the siting of the offshore wind turbine generators, offshore export cables, onshore transmission routes, and onshore substations to connect the projects to the existing New England electric grid. The multidisciplinary studies are undertaken to identify resources that could be affected by each project, and the project designs are refined to avoid or minimize significant impacts as feasible.
Once complete, Vineyard Wind 1 will be the country’s first commercial large-scale offshore wind farm. Park City Wind will further Connecticut’s clean energy goals as well. These significant projects will generate clean, renewable, cost-competitive energy. They will also create jobs and help spur economic growth in southeastern New England.