Cape Wind Lease Area
Project History and Overview
The Cape Wind Energy Project was proposed by Cape Wind Associates, LLC (CWA) in November 2001. Prior to BOEM’s involvement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assumed the lead Federal regulatory role under the River and Harbors Act, and issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in November 2004. Following the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the former Minerals Management Service (MMS) assumed lead Federal responsibility for all offshore wind power projects in Federal waters under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. On September 14, 2005, CWA applied for a commercial lease to construct and operate an offshore wind facility located in Federal waters offshore Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. On April 28, 2010, the Department of the Interior announced the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Cape Wind Project. The ROD documents the decision to select the Preferred Alternative at Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, as described in the final Environmental Impact Statement.
On October 6, 2010, after years of extensive environmental review and consultations, BOEM issued CWA the nation’s first commercial lease to construct and operate an offshore wind power facility, with the goal of generating clean renewable energy for Massachusetts and the Cape Cod region. The electricity generated from the project will help satisfy demand in Massachusetts and other New England States. In fact, the project could provide about 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The renewable energy generated from the project also will assist in satisfying Massachusetts' Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
The lease area is comprised of approximately 46 square miles in Nantucket Sound, 25 square miles of which make up the project footprint area on Horseshoe Shoal. The lease includes a 5-year site assessment term and a 28-year operations term. Prior to the production of electricity, CWA is responsible for annual rental payments of $88,278 ($3 per acre for 29,426 acres). Once commercial electricity production commences, annual rental payments no longer apply, and instead an operating fee is assessed on the total amount of energy produced (see page B-3 of the lease for details on the operating fee).
The project will consist of up to 130 Siemens 3.6 megawatt (MW) wind turbine generators (model #SWT-3.6-107) mounted on steel monopole foundations. Each wind turbine will have a maximum blade height of 440 feet. The project has a total nameplate capacity of 468 MWs, and with an average anticipated output of 174 MW it will generate enough electricity to power about 61,000 homes on average. Each wind turbine will generate electricity independently, and solid dielectric inner-array cables will funnel the electricity from the turbines to a centralized electrical service platform (ESP) located in the interior of the array. The ESP will collect all of the power and send it to an onshore power substation located in the Town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, via two 115 kV submarine transmission cable circuits.
Current Status of the Project
With the approval of a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) and a completed Facility Design Report (FDR) and Fabrication and Installation Report (FIR), Cape Wind Associates (CWA) has satisfied almost all of BOEM’s regulatory requirements for the planning and design of an offshore wind power facility. There are some remaining lease stipulations and conditions of COP approval that CWA must satisfy, and CWA must post decommissioning financial assurance in accordance with 30 C.F.R. §585.517. Also, the project is undergoing litigation, which could impact the overall schedule.
- In November 2001, CWA submitted an application to the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of a wind power facility.
- In August 2002, the Army Corps issued a permit to CWA to construct a meteorological tower for measuring wind speeds and gathering data. The tower was constructed in 2002 and still operates today.
- In November 2004, the Army Corps issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the construction of a wind power facility.
- The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave lead Federal regulatory authority to the Department of the Interior. The authority was delegated from the Department to the former MMS, and CWA applied for a commercial lease from the bureau on September 14, 2005.
- On January 18, 2008, the Cape Wind draft EIS was published, and the final EIS was published on January 21, 2009.
- In December 2009, the EPA Clean Air Act General Conformity Determination was issued.
- On January 4, 2010, the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places issued a determination that Nantucket Sound was eligible for listing as a traditional cultural property and an historic and archaeological property. On January 13, 2010, BOEM published a revised Documentation of Section 106 Finding of Adverse Effect.
- On March 2, 2010, Secretary of the Interior terminated Section 106 consultations after it became apparent that agreement among consulting parties could not be achieved.
- On April 28, 2010, the Department of the Interior issued the Record of Decision approving issuance of a commercial wind lease for the project.
- On October 6, 2010, CWA signed the first commercial offshore renewable energy lease in the United States. The lease became effective on November 1, 2010.
- On October 29, 2010, Cape Wind submitted a COP. Cape Wind submitted an updated COP on February 4, 2011. On April 18, 2011, BOEM issued the Record of Decision approving the COP.
- On November 20, 2012, BOEM approved Cape Wind’s Avian and Bat Monitoring Plan (ABMP).
- On May 20, 2014, CWA submitted its Facility Design Report (FDR) and Fabrication and Installation Report (FIR).
- On July 25, 2014, CWA submitted revisions to the approved COP.
- On September 9, 2014, BOEM approved CWA’s revisions to the COP and determined it has no objections to the FDR and FIR.
Construction and Operations Plan
CWA submitted its COP on October 29, 2010, and submitted an updated COP on February 4, 2011. To determine whether a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was necessary before issuing decision on the COP, BOEM prepared an Environmental Assessment. BOEM approved the COP, with modifications, on April 18, 2011.
On July 25, 2014, Cape Wind submitted revisions to the approved COP. The revisions cover recent project changes and updates. To determine whether a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was necessary before issuing a decision on the revisions, BOEM prepared an Environmental Assessment. BOEM approved the revisions to the approved COP, with modifications, on September 9, 2014.
Federal Register Notices
- Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Record of Decision (April 22, 2011)
- Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Assessment (February 22, 2011)
- Notice of Availability of a Commercial Lease for the Cape Wind Energy Project (December 28, 2010)
- Notice of Availability of ROD and DOI Response to Comments from ACHP (June 16, 2010)
- Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No New Significant Impact (May 4, 2010)
- Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Draft Finding of No New Significant Impact (March 8, 2010)
- Notice of Availability of the Revised Minerals Management Service Documentation of Section 106 Finding of Adverse Effect (Revised Finding) for the Proposed Cape Wind Energy Project (January 25, 2010)
- Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) (January 21, 2009)
- Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period (March 10, 2008)
- Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Public Hearings (January 18, 2008)
- Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (May 30, 2006)
- Environmental Assessment and Finding of No New Significant Impact covering BOEM’s approval of the COP revision and BOEM’s review of the FDR and FIR (September 08, 2014).
- NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) for High Resolution Geophysical Surveys in Nantucket Sound (December 2011). The IHA was renewed on March 21, 2013 and again on April 25, 2014.
- BOEM’s Environmental Assessment and Finding of No New Significant Impact and Record of Decision approving the COP (April 18, 2011).
- NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion covering Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations (December 30, 2010). This Opinion supersedes the previous Opinion issued on November 13, 2008, which is found in Appendix J of the FEIS.
- BOEM’s Environmental Assessment and Finding of No New Significant Impact covering the issuance of a commercial lease (April 28, 2010).
- The Department of the Interior's Record of Decision for the Cape Wind Energy Project (April 28, 2010).
- BOEM’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Cape Wind Energy Project (January 16, 2009).
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Biological Opinion covering Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations (November 21, 2008).
- BOEM’s Biological Assessment covering Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (May 2008).
- Summary of Scoping Comments
- Cape Wind Public Hearing Transcript - March 10, 2008
- Cape Wind Public Hearing Transcript - March 11, 2008
- Cape Wind Public Hearing Transcript - March 12, 2008
- Cape Wind Public Hearing Transcript - March 13, 2008
Section 106 Consultations