A major milestone has been reached for offshore wind. The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind 1 – the first offshore utility scale wind energy generating facility in the United States – was approved Tuesday by the US Department of the Interior. The Project, located in the Atlantic Ocean just over 14 miles off the coasts of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, MA, includes the installation of up to 84 Wind Turbine Generators on the Outer Continental Shelf in federal Lease Area OCS-A 0501.
“A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States. The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the administration’s goals to create good paying union jobs while combating climate change and powering our nation. Today is one of many actions we are determined to take to open the doors of economic opportunity to more Americans.”
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland
A Construction and Operations Plan (COP), prepared by Vineyard Wind’s lead environmental consultant Epsilon Associates, was submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in 2020. Saratoga Associates was an integral member of the environmental permitting team responsible for the preparation of the Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) for this first of its kind renewable energy project. The VIA identifies the potential visibility of the Project and evaluates the difference in character of the landscape and seascape with and without the Project in place. The information and recommendations assisted regulatory agencies, interested stakeholders, and the general public in their review of the Project, in accordance with applicable regulatory standards. The analysis took into consideration aspects unique to off-shore assessment including the screening effect of earth curvature, meteorological visibility and distant visibility of aviation obstruction lighting. Paramount to overall understanding of potential project visibility from coastal resources are highly accurate photographic simulations illustrating the degree and character of project visibility from numerous shoreline vantage points.
Saratoga Associates continues to work closely with Vineyard Wind in the evaluation of potential visual impact associated with the development of the next phase of offshore wind energy development in this OCS lease area.