(E&E News | Benjamin Storrow) — The Trump administration is ordering a sweeping environmental review of the burgeoning offshore wind industry, a move that threatens to derail the nation's first major project and raises a host of questions for future developments.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division of the Interior Department, is ordering a study of the cumulative impact of a string of projects along the East Coast. The review comes in response to concerns from fishermen about the impact of offshore wind development on East Coast fisheries.
A BOEM spokeswoman said the review would focus on projects with signed power purchase agreements. Nine projects in seven states with a combined capacity of 4.8 gigawatts are planned to come online in the coming years. The study will also consider the environmental implications of an even larger build-out of the industry, based on states' development targets for offshore wind.
The study will supplement an environmental impact statement of Vineyard Wind LLC, the country's first major offshore project. The 84-turbine project would be located in federal waters 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and capable of producing 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply 3% of New England's annual energy needs. ... continues.