Process includes virtual meetings and the opportunity to provide written comments
BOSTON AND FALL RIVER, MA – OCTOBER 28, 2021 – SouthCoast Wind today announced that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has taken the major step of announcing its “Notice of Intent” to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the SouthCoast Wind Project. The project will be located deep offshore and will deliver clean renewable energy to Massachusetts residents and businesses via grid connections in the towns of Falmouth and Somerset, Massachusetts.
“As we continue our efforts to secure a clean energy future for our Commonwealth, today’s BOEM announcement places SouthCoast Wind one step closer to ensuring the offshore wind industry is firmly anchored to the SouthCoast,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D – Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The emergence of the offshore wind industry, and SouthCoast Wind in particular, will create thousands of jobs in our communities, building our next great maritime economic enterprise. SouthCoast Wind’s partnership with the Gladding-Hearn Shipyard of Somerset will enable a local, family-owned business to build the next-generation of high-tech crew transfer vessels, while their plans to bring a major operations center to the Fall River waterfront will create a new economic development anchor. Finally, their planned partnership with the SouthCoast Community Foundation is a game-changer that has the potential to infuse tens of millions to support supply chain and workforce development opportunities with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. I would encourage everyone to participate in BOEM’s upcoming ‘scoping’ sessions and speak to the benefits that SouthCoast Wind will bring to our SouthCoast communities.”
Michael Brown, CEO of SouthCoast Wind, said these scoping meetings mark an important milestone in the project’s path to full federal licensing. “The SouthCoast Wind team has worked hard to provide the federal government with detailed information on our project so they can determine the merits of our plan,” he said. “Obtaining a federal permit will allow us to safely provide clean energy to nearly one million Massachusetts residents and businesses which will help to mitigate the effects of climate change that threaten our environment,” he added.
“The Cape & Islands are home to Massachusetts’ nation leading offshore wind industry,” said State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth). “The grid interconnection here will allow the whole state to benefit from the clean energy generated by SouthCoast Wind and other offshore wind projects. Our region is already experiencing some of the most damaging impacts of climate change making it imperative that we transition to clean energy so that future generations can call the Cape and Islands home, ” he added.
Jennifer Flood, SouthCoast Wind’s Offshore Permitting Manager, who led the development of the Construction and Operations Plan, said, “On behalf of SouthCoast Wind I’d like to thank BOEM and its staff for the tremendous effort they have put into reviewing our COP. The questions they have posed to date have made our COP even stronger.” Flood added, “Our team and consultants delivered the thoughtful work that went into this plan and their dedication has created an offshore wind project that is safe and environmentally sound.”
With BOEM’s announcement comes the opening of the public comment period on its Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on SouthCoast Wind’s deep-water offshore wind project. As part of the NEPA process, BOEM conducts these scoping meetings to elicit input and identify what should be considered when developing the environmental impact statement on SouthCoast Wind’s Construction and Operations Plan. According to BOEM, the public comments will help them determine the scope of the important resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives and potential mitigating measures that should be analyzed in the EIS. BOEM has set up a web page with full details and relevant documents at https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/mayflower-wind.
During the 30-day scoping period, which begins November 1, BOEM will host three virtual meetings, November 10, 15, and 18 to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about SouthCoast Wind’s Construction and Operations Plan, ask questions, and provide oral comments.
For those not able to attend one of the virtual meetings, written testimony will be accepted through 11:59 PM EST December 1, 2021. Written comments can be submitted to “MAYFLOWER WIND COP EIS” and addressed to Program Manager, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy, 45600 Woodland Road (VAM-OREP), Sterling, Virginia 20166. BOEM also has an online portal where written comments can be filed http://www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. BOEM-2021-0062, click on the “Comment Now!” button to the right of the document link, enter your information and comment, then click “Submit.”
At the end of the environmental review process, which is estimated to take about two years, BOEM will decide whether to approve SouthCoast Wind’s plan.
SouthCoast Wind will construct wind turbines in federal waters deep out in the Atlantic Ocean. The company has a contract to provide 804 megawatts of wind power to Massachusetts’ three biggest utilities and is awaiting a decision from the state on its current round of offshore wind solicitation.
When fully operational the project will produce enough electricity to power 800,000 homes annually, create 14,000 jobs, result in $150 million in economic activity and eliminate up to 13 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year. The SouthCoast Wind project supports Massachusetts’ clean energy goals to achieve net zero emissions in 2050.
SouthCoast Wind’s outreach office is in Fall River, close to their new O&M port and a short commute to their home dock of crew boats at the New Bedford waterfront.
About SouthCoast Wind
SouthCoast Wind, a 50/50 joint venture between Shell New Energies US LLC and Ocean Winds, is developing an offshore wind lease area with the potential to supply over 2,000 megawatts (MW) of low-cost clean energy to electricity customers in New England. SouthCoast Wind is committed to zero harm, innovation and industry development, and investing in our local communities.