Shell and Ocean Winds’ US Offshore Wind Project Clears First Federal Permitting Step
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the SouthCoast Wind project offshore Massachusetts, the 2.4 GW offshore wind project formerly known as Mayflower Wind, developed by a joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds.
BOEM will open a 45-day public comment period for the DEIS on 17 February, once the federal agency publishes a Notice of Availability for it in the Federal Register.
The input received will inform the preparation of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the offshore wind project, which will further inform BOEM’s decision on whether to approve the SouthCoast Wind construction and operation plan (COP) and, if so, which mitigation measures to require.
SouthCoast Wind Energy LLC, the Shell-Ocean Winds joint venture formerly known as Mayflower Wind, submitted the construction and operation plan (COP) in 2021.
The lease area where the developers plan to build the 2.4 GW project is located south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, where up to 147 offshore wind turbines are planned to be installed.
The joint venture has developed two Mayflower Wind projects in the lease area so far, the 405 MW Mayflower Wind and the 804 MW Mayflower Wind 2, which were merged into one project last year and renamed into SouthCoast Project. The two already-developed offshore wind projects will make up for the first 1.2 GW of the total 2.4 GW SouthCoast Project.
The SouthCoast Wind development also includes two export cable corridors, with one corridor proposed to make landfall in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and the other in Somerset, Massachusetts, according to a press release from BOEM.
Last year, as they announced the merging and renaming of the Mayflower Wind projects, Shell and Ocean Winds also said that they had decided to connect the first, 804 MW offshore wind farm to the grid at Brayton Point in Somerset, instead in Falmouth on Cape Cod as initially planned.
Both offshore wind farms were selected by the Massachusetts State to deliver clean electricity to the grid through state offshore wind solicitations over the past few years.
The developers also already have power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with Massachusetts utilities for the first 1.2 GW.
For the 804 MW project, the PPAs were signed with the National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) back in 2020.
The PPAs for the 405 MW offshore wind farm were signed in April 2022 and approved in December 2022, together with those signed by Avangrid for their Commonwealth Wind project.