US Government Shutdown Halts Vineyard Wind Meetings

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will be postponing public meetings on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind project, originally scheduled for 8 and 9 January, due to the government shutdown.

If the government shutdown continues into the morning of 14 January, the meetings scheduled for 15-17 January will be rescheduled as well, BOEM said in a notice issued in December.

Vineyard Wind is encouraging the public to submit comments online for both the BOEM Draft Environmental Impact Statement as well as the Final Environmental Impact Report submitted to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office. BOEM continues to accept online comments during the shutdown.

BOEM initially planned to hold five public meetings in Hyannis, Narragansett, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and New Bedford in mid-January and gather comments on the NOA after it was published on 7 December.

However, annual funding for the government expired on 21 December, ceasing a number of government activities due to a lack of appropriated funding and because a number of employees have been temporarily furloughed.

The 800MW Vineyard Wind is North America’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, scheduled to enter the construction phase this year and expected to be operational in 2021.

The project is being developed by Vineyard Wind LLC, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.