Environmental Policy News

BOEM Announces Environmental Review of Proposed Wind Energy Project Offshore Massachusetts

As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it will initiate the environmental review of a proposed 2,430-megawatt wind energy project offshore Massachusetts.

This week, BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Beacon Wind, LLC (Beacon Wind).

This is the 11th offshore wind energy COP review initiated under the Biden-Harris administration.

“BOEM is advancing the Administration’s ambitious energy goals while remaining diligent in our efforts to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to ocean users and the marine environment,” said BOEM

Director Elizabeth Klein. “As part of our environmental review process, we seek input from Tribes, our government partners, the fishing community, and other ocean users to inform our next steps.”

The lease area is approximately 17 nautical miles (nm) south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and approximately 52 nm east of Montauk, New York. If approved, the development and construction phases of the Beacon Wind project could support up to an estimated 6,491 jobs.

Highlights from Beacon Wind’s proposal include the following:

  • Construction and operation of two wind energy facilities (Beacon Wind 1 and Beacon Wind 2) offshore Massachusetts with a total capacity of at least 2,430 megawatts of clean, renewable wind energy, which could power over 850,000 homes each year.
  • Installation of up to 155 turbines, up to two offshore substation platforms, and up to two offshore export cables, which are planned to make landfall in Astoria, New York, and Waterford, Connecticut.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has approved the nation's first two commercial scale offshore wind projects, held three offshore wind lease auctions – including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sale offshore the Pacific Coast in California, initiated environmental review of 10 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional Wind Energy Areas in Oregon, Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic. The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic based supply chain.

Public Meetings and Comment Period

The publication of the NOI in the Federal Register on Jun. 30, 2023, opens a 30-day public comment period that ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Jul. 31, 2023.

During the public comment period, BOEM will hold two virtual and two in-person public meetings for the Beacon Wind EIS on the following dates and times (Eastern time):

Virtual Meetings:

Thu., Jul. 13, 2023, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Zoom Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_atMrQLFDTce4U5vX94q4rQ
Dial-in phone number: 888 788 0099 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 894 3756 0938
Passcode: 57235058

Wed. Jul. 26, 2023, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Zoom Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ryflPSALTlWADAl5BVSSIQ
Dial-in phone number: 888 788 0099 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 845 4596 7073
Passcode: 609224

In-person meetings:

Tue., Jul. 18, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
The Market Place Dinning Hall, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747

Thu., Jul. 20, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Adria Conference Center Ballroom, Queens NY
221-17 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11361-3600
Registration for the virtual public meetings and detailed information about the proposed wind energy project, including how to comment, can be found on BOEM’s website.

Next Steps

The public comment period for the NOI will help identify what BOEM may consider as part of its environmental review of Beacon Wind’s COP. Throughout the scoping process, multiple opportunities exist to help BOEM determine the important resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives, and potential mitigating measures that should be analyzed in the EIS. Following the comment period, BOEM will review the comments to identify issues and potential alternatives for consideration in the Beacon Wind Draft EIS.

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