Wind energy CEO vows to build delayed offshore project

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019

Vineyard Wind is committed to building the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm off the Massachusetts coast despite a decision by federal regulators to delay issuing a key environmental impact statement, company CEO Lars Pedersen said Monday.

But the company will have to push back its deadline for the 800-megawatt project, Pedersen said.

“We are very proud of the Vineyard Wind team’s achievements so far and we are disappointed not to deliver the project on the timeline we had anticipated,” Pedersen said in a written statement. “We were less than four months away from launching a new industry in the United States.”

More than 50 U.S. companies have been awarded a contract or are currently bidding on contracts associated with the 84-turbine wind farm, Pedersen said.

Connie Gillette, chief of public affairs for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said Friday the agency took the action after receiving comments “from stakeholders and cooperating agencies” requesting a more robust cumulative analysis.

That expanded analysis would include projects that have been awarded power purchase agreements but may not have submitted construction and operations plans.

Vineyard Wind said it hasn’t received any information about the requirements for the expanded analysis. The company said 3,600 jobs, a $2.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, and contracts with shipyards in the Gulf Coast and the Northeast are hanging in the balance.

Sen. Ed Markey (D) was among many Massachusetts public officials decrying the decision.

“It sends a clear and chilling message across this nascent industry that the Trump Administration will do everything in its power to cut corners for oil and gas projects while cutting the cord on the next frontier of clean energy deployment,” Markey said in a statement.

The company said publication of the final environmental impact statement would be one of the final steps for the project in the federal permitting process, representing an important milestone in a review process that began in 2017 and had been targeted for completion by Aug. 16.

The review process has included more than 25 federal, state and local regulatory agencies and commissions, Vineyard Wind said.

The company has said the wind farm would reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year — the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads.