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Two Cape-linked wind farms nearing federal approval

Avangrid's Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind locations are southwest of Vineyard Wind 1.
Avangrid's Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind locations are southwest of Vineyard Wind 1.

Two offshore wind projects with ties to Cape Cod have taken a significant step forward in the federal review process.

Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind have completed their environmental review. The Biden administration announced Monday that it had finished the wind farms’ Final Environmental Impact Statement, one of the last few steps before they could receive federal approval.

The projects were reviewed jointly under the name New England Wind. Both are owned by Avangrid.

The environmental document is not a decision to approve the wind farms, which could come soon. But if the projects win Massachusetts contracts in the bidding now underway, their timeline could be years ahead of any newly proposed wind farms.

Commonwealth hopes to land electrical cables at Dowses Beach, and Park City at Craigville Beach, both in Barnstable. Cables would be tunneled under the beaches, as Vineyard Wind has already done at Covell’s Beach in Barnstable.

The proposed landings have spurred some community opposition and a counter-effort by supporters to speak in favor of the wind farms at public meetings.

The wind farms would be located southwest of Vineyard Wind.

Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind terminated their respective contracts with Massachusetts and Connecticut utilities last year, citing inflationary cost increases.

In Massachusetts, offshore wind bids are due March 27, and selection of one or more winners is scheduled for August.

In the federal review, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management must wait at least 30 days after publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement to file a joint Record of Decision for the numerous agencies involved in the environmental analysis.

The final federal step comes when BOEM approves a wind farm’s construction and operations plan.

Vineyard Wind was approved in July of 2021, about four months after completion of its environmental review.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.