The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) will host four workshops with the region’s fishing industry to identify priorities for assessments of impacts on fisheries and ecological conditions that are associated with offshore wind development. These priorities, which focus on effects before, during and after construction, will be used to aid the design of studies of the Vineyard Wind project, which will be the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project.
The SMAST studies, which are part of a collaborative agreement between the school and Vineyard Wind, seek to further public understanding about the effects of offshore wind development and inform future permitting and public policy decisions regarding wind energy facility siting. The fishing industry has raised important questions about the impacts of offshore wind development on the marine environment and on sea life. The comprehensive research effort by SMAST will help establish a robust body of knowledge to benefit the American offshore wind industry and the fishing community long after the first Vineyard Wind project is completed.
Information that is collected by SMAST will be publicly available to help inform future offshore wind permitting and public policy decisions.
SMAST’s scoping workshops for the fishing sector are scheduled as follows:
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST)
836 South Rodney French Boulevard
Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island
East Farm Campus Building 61B URI
Chatham Community Center
792 Main Street
West Tisbury Library
1042 State Road
Vineyard Wind was selected in May 2018 to negotiate long-term contracts with Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) for construction of an 800-megawatt (MW) wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard; these contracts have now been signed and are pending before the Department of Public Utilities for approval. Vineyard Wind remains on schedule to begin on-shore construction in 2019 and become operational by 2021.
The Vineyard Wind project continues to move ahead with public and regulatory review through more than 25 federal, state, and local approval processes. These include Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (federal Environmental Impact Statement), the Army Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, Massachusetts DEP and CZM, the Cape Cod Commission and local conservation commissions.