On Nov. 6, 2023, BOEM announced the publication of the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for Additional Site Assessment Activities on Beacon Wind, LLC’s renewable energy lease in the Federal Register on Nov. 7, 2023. The publication opened a 30-day public comment period which closes on Dec. 7, 2023.
- Beacon Wind Foundation Testing Site Assessment Amendment (March 2023)
- Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for Additional Site Assessment Activities on Beacon Wind, LLC’s renewable energy lease
Beacon Wind Project
Beacon Wind, LLC proposing to develop Lease Area OCS-A 0520, located offshore approximately 20 miles southwest Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Lease Area is anticipated to be developed in two phases. Together, BW 1 and BW 2 would produce approximately 2,000 megawatts of wind energy.
On December 13-14, 2018, BOEM held a competitive lease sale for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts. The auction lasted 32 rounds. Equinor Wind US, LLC was identified as the winner of Lease Area OCS-A 0520 (128,811 acres), Mayflower Wind Energy, LLC was identified as the winner of Lease Area OCS-A 0521 (127,388 acres), and Vineyard Wind, LLC was identified as the winner of Lease Area OCS-A 0522 (132,370 acres).
The commercial wind energy lease OCS-A 0520 was executed by BOEM on March 5, 2019, with an effective date of April 1, 2019.
Equinor subsequently assigned the lease to a subsidiary, Beacon Wind, LLC.
Beacon Wind submitted a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for site assessment of metrological and oceanographic conditions in the lease area on December 8, 2020. After review and necessary consultations, BOEM approved the SAP on September 24, 2021.
On Jun. 5, 2023, Beacon Wind submitted a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM to construct and operate an offshore wind facility located in the designated Renewable Energy Lease Area OCS-A 0520. The version of the COP informs the basis for the Draft Environmental Impacts Statement (Draft EIS) .
Beacon Wind proposes to develop the entire Lease Area in two wind farms, known as Beacon Wind 1 (BW1) and Beacon Wind 2 (BW2) (collectively referred to hereafter as the Project). The individual wind farms within the Lease Area will be electrically isolated and independent from the other via transmission systems that connect two separate offshore substations to two onshore Points of Interconnection (POIs). However, if BW1 and BW2 both interconnect with the New York Independent System Operator (NY ISO), the Project will assess the possibility of cable linkage between BW1 and BW2. Each wind farm will gather the power from the associated turbines to a central offshore substation and deliver the generated power via a submarine export cable to an onshore substation for final delivery into the local utility distribution system at the selected POI.
The purpose of the Project is to generate renewable electricity from an offshore wind farm(s) located in the Lease Area. The Project addresses the need identified by northeast states to achieve offshore wind goals: New York (9,000 megawatts [MW]), Connecticut (2,000 MW), Rhode Island (up to 1,000 MW), and Massachusetts (5,600 MW). BW1 will be developed first and constitutes the northern portion of the Lease Area. It covers approximately 56,535 ac (22,879 ha). The BW1 wind farm has a 25-year offtake agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to deliver the power to its identified POI in Queens, New York.
Upon conclusion of environmental reviews and consultations, BOEM will approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications the proposed activities.
Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Scoping
On Jun. 30, 2023 BOEM published the Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Beacon Wind’s project offshore Massachusetts.
The NOI initiated a 30-day public comment period. During the public comment period, BOEM hosted four public scoping meetings where the public learned more about the Construction and Operations Plan (COP), asked questions, and provided oral testimony.
Recordings from the virtual scoping meetings are available:
- Beacon Wind NOI EIS Public Scoping Meeting Recording – July 13, 2023
- Beacon Wind NOI EIS Public Scoping Meeting Recording – July 26, 2023
Information resources shared at the Beacon Wind public meetings can be found in the virtual meeting room.
BOEM received 523 submissions during the scoping period from the public, agencies, Tribes, and other interested groups and stakeholders. Scoping comments can be viewed through the Regulations.gov web portal by searching Docket No. BOEM-2023-0037 at http://www.regulations.gov and clicking “View Related Comments”.
A total of 1,258 unique comments were identified and are summarized in the Beacon Wind Scoping Report.