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Vineyard Wind Clears Key Federal Hurdle; Cape Supporters Hail It a Victory

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Vineyard Wind passed a major milestone Monday as federal regulators issued a final environmental impact statement on the company’s proposed offshore wind farm.

The project 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard is nearing the end of the federal permitting process.

Andrew Gottlieb, executive director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, said the move signals the country is once again making progress on clean energy after delays under the Trump administration.

“Certainly to have an administration that is looking forward, not backward ... is a return to the way things ought to be, and is a very encouraging development,” he said.

The company’s first wind farm, Vineyard Wind 1, is designed to produce enough power for more than 400,000 homes with 62 turbines.

In a press release, Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen thanked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for three years of work.

“We look forward to reaching the final step in the federal permitting process and being able to launch an industry that has such tremendous potential for economic development in communities up and down the Eastern Seaboard,” he said.

Clean-energy advocates hailed Monday’s news as an exciting step forward.

Priscilla Brooks, vice president and director of ocean conservation at the Conservation Law Foundation, told CAI she hopes the project will move ahead quickly, and in a way that avoids harm to endangered North Atlantic right whales, other ocean wildlife, and habitat.

“Offshore wind is a critical piece of New England’s shift from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy,” she said.

Since Vineyard Wind 1 was first designed, larger turbines have come to market, allowing the project to be reduced from 84 to 62 turbines and still meet its contracted size of 800 megawatts of generating capacity.

Vineyard Wind plans to begin construction next year and start generating electricity in late 2023.