The commonwealth issued Vineyard Wind an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) certificate for the Vineyard Wind Connector on Monday as part of the ongoing Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review process. The connector is a transmission line slated to come ashore on the Cape in Yarmouth and then link to a substation in Barnstable. The line is meant to feed electricity generated from Vineyard Wind’s proposed wind turbine farm into the electrical grid. The certificate issuance is part of a multifaceted review by state and local authorities.
Vineyard Wind has faced sharp criticism from some Yarmouth residents, as well as opposition from officials in that town, due to concerns about the environmental impact of the transmission cable. Vineyard Wind is one of three bidders to submit proposals to the state in hopes of winning the right to construct a wind farm south of Nomans Land, and the only one of the three with a connection to the Vineyard and no affiliation with a utility company.
To date Vineyard Wind believes it’s the only one of the three bidders to have received a ENF certificate, begun the MEPA process, and entered a permitting phase in general, according to company spokesman Scott Farmelant. Lauren Burn, representative for Vineyard Wind competitor Bay State Wind, confirmed her company hasn’t received an environmental certificate, nor has it begun MEPA. However, she said Bay State Wind is the only one of the three projects to have a Site Assessment Plan approved by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Representatives for Deepwater Wind, Vineyard Wind’s other competitor, could not immediately be reached for comment on the status of its environmental permits.