Vineyard Wind Seeks USACE Okay

Vineyard Wind is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the construction of its 800MW wind farm offshore Massachusetts.

The work regulated by USACE will include the construction of the turbines and scour protection around their base, up to two offshore substations, inter-array and export cables, as well as inter-link cables between the substations.

The application for the permit was filed in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in or affecting navigable waters which regulates the discharge or fill of material in waters, including wetlands.

According to the corps, the design of the Vineyard Wind project will see it avoid and minimize impacts to waters, with no impacts to onshore wetlands proposed.

In offshore areas where impacts to marine resources are unavoidable, the project avoids all corps-defined special aquatic sites including eelgrass beds, intertidal mudflats, coral reef complexes, and so on.

In addition, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is conducting further consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding the conservation recommendations of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

The decision whether to issue the permit is said to be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest and to reflect the national concern for protection and utilization of important resources.

USACE is welcoming comments from the public, federal, state and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, as well as other parties in order to evaluate the impacts of the project.

The deadline for submission is 28 January 2019.

Located some 14 miles off Martha's Vineyard, the Vineyard Wind wind farm will feature MHI Vestas 9.5MW turbines.

The 800MW project is expected to enter the construction phase in 2019 and be operational by 2021.