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Vineyard Wind dealing with potential setbacks

Vineyard Wind, the company that's planning to build the state's first offshore wind farm, is facing setbacks for the project of 84 turbines in waters near Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The Edgartown Conservation Commission voted against approval for transmission cables that Vineyard Wind wants to lay about a mile east of the town. The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has put off issuing a final environmental impact statement on the wind farm. Sarah Mizes-Tan, a reporter with WGBH’s Cape Cod bureau, spoke with WGBH Radio’s Arun Rath about the wind farm and some of the setbacks. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: Let's start with this “no” vote by the Edgartown Conservation Commission. I understand Vineyard Wind is appealing to the state. So, is this a serious roadblock?

Sarah Mizes-Tan: The Edgartown Commission is not necessarily seen as a serious roadblock. I think it came as a bit of a surprise, and the timing is not necessarily the best for the company. A lot of people thought that the Edgartown Commission can be a little bit sleepy, but it turns out that the meeting lasted five hours, with fishermen coming out to express their... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Vineyard Wind, the company that's planning to build the state's first offshore wind farm, is facing setbacks for the project of 84 turbines in waters near Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The Edgartown Conservation Commission voted against approval for transmission cables that Vineyard Wind wants to lay about a mile east of the town. The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has put off issuing a final environmental impact statement on the wind farm. Sarah Mizes-Tan, a reporter with WGBH’s Cape Cod bureau, spoke with WGBH Radio’s Arun Rath about the wind farm and some of the setbacks. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: Let's start with this “no” vote by the Edgartown Conservation Commission. I understand Vineyard Wind is appealing to the state. So, is this a serious roadblock?

Sarah Mizes-Tan: The Edgartown Commission is not necessarily seen as a serious roadblock. I think it came as a bit of a surprise, and the timing is not necessarily the best for the company. A lot of people thought that the Edgartown Commission can be a little bit sleepy, but it turns out that the meeting lasted five hours, with fishermen coming out to express their concern about how the project would affect their business.

Rath: The other hurdle is this delay from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on putting out this environmental impact statement. How important, first off, is that statement? And is this delay significant?

Mizes-Tan: That one is definitely a bigger deal. They were waiting on that final environmental impact statement to come out from the federal government, and it was announced that that statement was just going to be delayed indefinitely, and that statement would be the federal government's final thumbs-up for the project. And so if they don't get that, they have no way of beginning construction. And Vineyard Wind, as we all know, was keeping a very tight timeline. They had been promising to be breaking ground on their offshore wind farm by the end of this year. Depending on how long this statement is delayed from the federal government, it could certainly set the project back.

Read more: Vineyard Wind Project Receives Potential Setbacks

Rath: And they want to get this done because they have financial incentives for getting it done sooner?

Mizes-Tan: Yes, definitely. If they can break ground by the end of the year, they will be eligible for tax credits from the state. So there is definitely a lot of incentive for them to go ahead and get started.

Rath: You know, talking about these delays, it's really impossible at this point not to think of Cape Wind, where we had years and years of delays. It was ultimately brought to a halt by local opposition. Is there any sense now that Vineyard Wind could go down the same way?

Mizes-Tan: I would definitely say that people are concerned. There have been some officials who have told me on background that yes, this absolutely this looks concerning because the federal government has essentially put a stop gap on the project for now. Certainly, it makes people turn heads.

But at the same time, Vineyard Wind has really had a fairly successful run. They've had a lot of different permitting processes that they've had to go through in order to even get to this point. And they've kind of sailed through all of them, and so in some ways, their past record has been the surprise, and this final move by the federal government is in fact maybe something that some experts were like oh, okay, yeah, this project was moving too fast, so it kind of makes sense that someone would step in and stop it. But Cape Wind did not get approval from the Cape Cod Commission. It didn't get approval from a lot of the other organizations that Vineyard Wind has, and so there is a sense that this is different.


Source: https://www.wgbh.org/news/l...

JUL 14 2019
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