As Edgartown continues efforts to block approval of Vineyard Wind’s application for export cables off Chappaquiddick, Vineyard Wind announced it has taken major steps toward the creation of a second wind farm.
In a superseding order of conditions, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection overruled the Edgartown Conservation Commission’s 5-1 vote to deny the installation of export cables in the Muskeget Channel, and determined the cables can be installed. Edgartown has appealed that decision to the DEP’s Office of Appeals and Dispute Resolution.
Edgartown conservation agent Jane Varkonda told The Times Edgartown didn’t receive the August 5 superseding order of conditions from the commonwealth in a timely manner. Varkonda said she learned by happenstance the decision had been made during a conversation with a state official. Upon learning Edgartown was without the decision, the official sent it.
“He sent it to me on Friday [August 16], and the last day to appeal was Monday the 19th,” she said.
Varkonda said town counsel was able to pull together the appeal in time. “It was a scramble to say the least,” she said.
Reynolds, Rappaport, Kaplan and Hackney director Michael Goldsmith, who drafted the appeal, declined to speculate on why the order didn’t initially get to Edgartown.
Varkonda said it’s plausible it was lost in the mail.
“MassDEP believes the Edgartown conservation commission was notified of the superseding order on the date of the decision (August 8, 2019), but can’t confirm that,” DEP spokesman Joe Ferson emailed. “The Edgartown conservation commission, however, was notified after a phone conversation on 8/16/19 .. .the appeal deadline was met on 8/19/19.”
Meanwhile, on August 23, Vineyard Wind announced it had submitted “a set of commercial large-scale offshore wind proposals to Massachusetts Electric Distribution Companies” per a second round of procurement in Massachusetts for clean energy generation and transmission.
“The proposals include a required 400 megawatt (MW) option and two options for development of an 800 MW project,” a release states.
“Vineyard Wind is very excited to submit these proposals, which offer significant job creation and port infrastructure investment opportunity for the region, while ensuring an attractive, fixed price for electric ratepayers,” Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said via the release. “We look forward to announcing additional details on this exciting project in the weeks ahead.”
Vineyard Wind referred to the proposed project as Vineyard Wind 2, as opposed to the present wind farm, which it referred to as Vineyard Wind 1.
Vineyard Wind 2 “would be built in Vineyard Wind’s lease area, and located south of the Vineyard Wind 1 project,” the release states. “The design for Vineyard Wind 2 features turbines in rows aligned in an east-west direction, with spacing of 1 nautical mile between turbine rows.”
Vineyard Wind 1 remains mired in review after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management decided it wished to take a deeper look into the environmental impacts of offshore wind turbines. Massachusetts lawmakers, including Governor Baker and State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, have steadfastly supported Vineyard Wind and Vineyard Wind 1, which would be America’s first large-scale offshore wind farm. Vineyard Wind is an amalgam of Avangrid Renewables of Portland, Ore., and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners of Denmark.
In a recent Facebook post containing an image of himself aboard a vessel near offshore turbines, Fernandes wrote, “Offshore wind will propel our state to a 100 percent clean energy future, and our district will be leading the nation to make it happen. Touring a large-scale offshore wind farm in Denmark with Orsted U.S. to learn more about this innovative industry.”
Offshore wind developer Orsted owns the Block Island Wind Farm, and has partnered with Eversource to form Bay State Wind. Bay State Wind also recently sent proposals to distribution companies, according to State House News. Both Vineyard Wind and Bay State Wind submitted bids to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources for the second round of procurement, State House News reported.