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Vineyard Wind Announces New Delay In Offshore Wind Project

Three wind turbines from the Deepwater Wind project off Block Island, Rhode Island, as seen in August 2016. Massachusetts is slated to start spinning at its own offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in a couple years. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
Three wind turbines from the Deepwater Wind project off Block Island, Rhode Island, as seen in August 2016. Massachusetts is slated to start spinning at its own offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in a couple years. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Vineyard Wind no longer expects its 800-megawatt project to become operational by 2022, the company said Tuesday after federal officials announced a new — and longer-than-anticipated — timeline for their review of the project and offshore wind sector generally.

"We have received updated information from the Department of Interior that indicates the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Vineyard Wind I project will be published later than what was previously anticipated," Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said in a statement.

"While we need to analyze what a longer permitting timeline will mean for beginning construction, commercial operation in 2022 is no longer expected. We look forward to the clarity that will come with a final EIS so that Vineyard Wind can deliver this project to Massachusetts and kick off the new US offshore energy industry."

The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) sent shockwaves through the industry in August with its plan to hold off on developing the final environmental impact statement for Vineyard Wind — the Massachusetts-contracted project that is in line to be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the country — while it studies the wider impacts of a sector that is hoping to ramp up in Northeast and mid-Atlantic waters also used by the fishing sector.

On Tuesday, BOEM published a new "one federal decision permitting timeline," which envisions the issuance of a record of decision by Dec. 18, 2020.

Vineyard Wind had originally planned to financially close on its project and begin on-shore construction work in 2019, put the first turbine into the seabed in 2021 and have the 84-turbine wind farm generating electricity in 2022.

Officials from Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables seeking to build an 84-turbine wind farm 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, had said in July that the entire project would be at risk if the federal government did not issue the project's final environmental impact statement by the end of August.

Since then, the company has affirmed its commitment to the project "albeit with a delayed project schedule."

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