Business, Academia and Environmental Leaders Urged to Take Part in BOEM’s Public Comment Period to Express Support
For Immediate Release
Madison, Connecticut. July 8, 2020. – RENEW Northeast, a leading regional renewable organization governed by both environmental and industry interests, lauded the tremendous public support Vineyard Wind and offshore wind development more broadly are receiving during the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management’s (BOEM) public hearing process.
RENEW also announced today that it has joined with the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, WindSTAR Center at UMass Lowell and the National Wildlife Federation to express appreciation to BOEM for releasing its Supplement to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind 1 Offshore Wind Energy Project and to urge decisive action that will allow the offshore wind industry to move forward.
The group is making a public call to action to other organizations, businesses, and institutions to express their support to BOEM either through public comments at the hearings or by submitting written testimony. The last public hearing is tomorrow, July 9, 2020, at 5 p.m. and the deadline for written comments is July 27, 2020.
Vineyard Wind 1, located in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts, will be the first large-scale offshore wind project in the United States providing 800 megawatts of clean and reliable electricity into the New England power grid. RENEW, together with Massachusetts Business Roundtable, WindSTAR Center at UMass Lowell and The National Wildlife Federation will be filing formal comments. The organizations will highlight offshore wind’s dual economic and environmental benefits to the region and the need to accept the 1 x 1 nautical mile transit lanes endorsed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
At sites located on the Outer Continental Shelf, the Department of Energy estimates offshore wind’s technical potential at over 2,000 gigawatts (or double the amount of all existing installed U.S. electricity), 86 gigawatts of which could be developed by 2050. Atlantic coastal states, recognizing the economic and environmental opportunities afforded by the technology, have collectively issued procurement targets for 29 gigawatts of offshore wind. A recent economic development study from the American Wind Energy Association reported that offshore wind development off the Atlantic Coast could translate into $57 billion in direct investment, add $25 billion in annual economic output and create 83,000 well-paying jobs by 2030, all while stabilizing retail electricity rates and emitting no climate-altering greenhouse gases.
“The National Wildlife Federation is eager for BOEM to advance the Vineyard Wind project and for responsibly sited, developed, and operated offshore wind power to be a pillar of the nation’s clean energy future. We were proud to reach agreement with Vineyard Wind on measures to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale during project construction and operation,” said Catherine Bowes, Offshore Wind Energy Program Director for the National Wildlife Federation. “It is time to harness this critical climate solution while protecting wildlife every step of the way.”
BOEM has now completed four of its five scheduled virtual meetings. The vast majority of commenters have expressed strong support for the Vineyard Wind project and the responsible development of offshore wind. Support has come from diverse stakeholders, including residents of Martha’s Vineyard, elected officials, labor union representatives, business owners, investors, commercial fishermen, climate activists, scientists and students. Commenters cite the urgency to stem climate change and harness economic benefits as among the reasons they approve of offshore wind development.
“RENEW Northeast and our board of environmental and industry leaders believe that adopting responsibly developed offshore wind is critical to meeting our nation’s climate and economic challenges,” says Francis Pullaro, Executive Director of RENEW Northeast. “It is heartening to see so many people agree and take time out of their schedules to support vocally offshore wind.”
One of the pivotal outstanding items being reviewed by BOEM is that of transit lanes. RENEW Northeast, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, WindSTAR Center at UMass Lowell and The National Wildlife Federation support the uniform 1 x 1 nautical mile layout that the U.S. Coast Guard determined, after a robust public input process, would “maximize safe navigation.” The 1 x 1 nautical mile layout, agreed to by all New England offshore wind leaseholders to provide ample and uniform navigation transit lanes, is larger spacing than in any other wind facility currently operating in the world.
“The Massachusetts Business Roundtable supports public policy and regulatory efforts that provide reliable, sustainable, affordable energy resources for consumers and businesses enabling the state to meet the needs of a growing economy and the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff. “We support the balanced 1 x 1 nautical mile approach, outlined by the U.S. Coast Guard and BOEM, that will enable our region to address climate change through the effective and efficient development of large-scale clean energy resources such as offshore wind.”
An alternative layout requiring additional transit lanes over four times wider than the USCG reviewed 1 x 1 design is under consideration by BOEM and has been widely criticized in public comments received during the four meetings.
“On behalf of the National Science Foundation’s only research center on wind energy, the WindSTAR Center at UMass Lowell is supportive of the efforts of BOEM on the development of offshore wind and supports the 1×1 nautical mile spacing for the turbine layout.” says Christopher Niezrecki, Director of WindSTAR.
RENEW Northeast, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, WindSTAR Center at UMass Lowell and The National Wildlife Federation encourage members of the public to share their comments about the urgent climate and economic need for offshore wind and support the 1 x 1 nautical mile navigation lanes. BOEM is accepting comments during one additional public meeting, online and by mail through July 27, 2020.
- Online: Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov – ID: BOEM-2020-0005-001)
- By mail: Send to Vineyard Wind 1 COP EIS. Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road (VAM-OREP), Sterling, Virginia 20166
- Speak at the final Virtual Public Meeting being held on July 9: sign up to speak
ABOUT RENEW NORTHEAST
RENEW is a non-profit association uniting environmental advocates and the renewable energy industry whose mission involves coordinating the ideas and resources of its members with the goal of increasing environmentally sustainable energy generation in the Northeast from the region’s abundant, indigenous renewable resources. RENEW members own and/or are developing large-scale renewable energy projects, energy storage resources and high-voltage transmission facilities across the Northeast. They are supported by members providing engineering, procurement and construction services in the development of these projects and members that supply them with multi-megawatt class wind turbines. RENEW seeks to promote policies that will increase energy diversity, promote economic development, and achieve the state policy goals including those found in state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Global Warming Solutions Acts (GWSA).
ABOUT WINDSTAR CENTER AT UMASS LOWELL
WindSTAR brings together university and industry researchers to conduct basic and applied research on topics important to wind industry members. The Center combines capabilities, facilities, and knowledge to execute projects of interest to industry partners, train students in advanced technologies, and foster a community for industry/university networking and collaboration. WindStar operated centers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and University of Texas Dallas. Learn more >
ABOUT THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
The National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest and most trusted conservation organization, works across the country to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. On the front lines for wildlife since 1936, the NWF fights for the conservation values that are woven into the fabric of our nation’s collective heritage. The National Wildlife Federation is working with a broad coalition of partners to build momentum and support for the rapid, environmentally responsible development of our offshore wind energy resources. The organization is committed to ensuring that the Block Island Wind Farm is just the beginning, recognizing that If we are to protect wildlife from the dangers of climate change, we can no longer afford to ignore this
massive clean energy opportunity. Learn more >
ABOUT MASSACHUSETTS BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE (MBR)
The Massachusetts Business Roundtable (MBR) is a public policy organization comprised of Chief Executive Officers and Senior Executives from some of the state’s largest employers. MBR’s members employ more than 250,000 people in the Commonwealth. MBR’s mission is to strengthen the state’s economic vitality. MBR engages with public and private leaders to develop public policy solutions that enhance Massachusetts’ long-term competitive position and make it a highly desirable place to do business within a global economy. Learn more >