BOEM Releases Draft Environmental Statements for Next Two Wind Farms

BOEM releases draft EIS for two wind farms
BOEM is beginning the public comment period on environmental statements for the next two offshore wind farms

Published Dec 14, 2022 5:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

Progress continues to be made on the development of several of the first large-scale offshore wind projects in the United States. On December 16, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish the draft Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for two projects, Dominion’s Coastal Virginia Wind and Sunrise Wind being jointly developed by Ørsted and Eversource, as one of the final steps in the permitting process.

The release of the two EIS statements begins a 60-day comment period. BOEM will use the findings to inform its decision on whether to approve the Construction and Operating Plan (COP) submitted by each of the developers. BOEM will also determine which mitigation measures it would require at each of the sites. As part of the process, BOEM will be conducting virtual public meetings to hear comments on the plans.

“This important federal permitting milestone puts Sunrise Wind one significant step closer to advancing New York’s ambitious climate goals. As we review the draft findings we want to thank the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for its comprehensive and diligent review,” Sunrise said in a statement in response to the news of the release of its EIS.

Sunrise Wind submitted a COP for its proposal to develop a wind energy facility that includes up to 94 wind turbines and their associated export cables. The turbines and offshore substation would be approximately 16.4 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, approximately 26.5 nautical miles east of Montauk, New York, and 14.5 nautical miles from Block Island, Rhode Island. The onshore export cables, substation, and grid connection would be located in Holbrook, New York.

The project which is designed to produce approximately 924 MW is a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted and Eversource, with support from Con Edison and the New York Power Authority. They are currently estimating that Sunrise Wind will be fully operational in 2025.

The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is the largest project of its kind in the United States, designed to produce 2.6 gigawatts of energy to as many as 660,000 customers at peak output and the first offshore wind farm owned by an electric utility company. Dominion Energy submitted a Construction and Operation Plan for its proposal to develop a wind energy project that includes up to 205 wind turbine generators and their associated offshore and onshore export cables. The project will be located on the U.S. outer continental shelf approximately 24 nautical miles east of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

BOEM highlights that these wind farms are the fourth and fifth projects at this stage of the regulatory review process. The Department of the Interior has approved what will be the nation's first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects, while also initiating a review on an additional ten projects, and held three offshore wind lease auctions in 2022.  BOEM highlights the nearly 4 GW combined from these two projects entering the last stages of review as a key step to the U.S. goal of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.