EPA, Corps of Engineers Grant Permits for Cape Wind Project
January 12, 2011
The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the Cape Wind Project 24 hours after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued Cape Wind a permit, Cape Wind officials announced on January 7. These steps complete federal permitting for the proposed 130-turbine offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. Various federal, state, and local agencies have participated in the environmental review process. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)—an arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the lead federal agency in the environmental review—issued its record of decision in April 2010 favoring the project. And in November, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved a 15-year power purchase agreement with National Grid to buy 50% of Cape Wind's energy, capacity, and renewable energy credits. See the Army Corps press release, the Corps record of decision, and Cape Wind press releases on the EPA and National Grid.
On December 28, BOEMRE and Massachusetts announced a request for interest (RFI) to determine the level of interest in further future development offshore. The RFI area off the coast of Massachusetts is approximately 12 nautical miles (nm) south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, and it extends approximately 31 nm seaward. The area is approximately 2,224 square nm and contains 321 whole lease blocks and 163 partial blocks on the Outer Continental Shelf. Granting of the permit is the initial step under DOI's "Smart from the Start" renewable energy initiative announced in November. The goal is to have BOEMRE identify priority "wind energy areas" for potential development. Public comment is due February 28, 2011. See the BOEMRE press release, the RFI in the Federal Register, and coverage of the DOI's "Smart from the Start" in EERE Network News.