(OW) The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will initiate its eleventh offshore wind environmental review with Equinor and BP’s 2.4 GW Beacon Wind 1 and 2 wind farms, proposed to be built offshore Massachusetts and connected to the grid in New York and Connecticut.
BOEM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP) today, 30 June, initiating a public comment period that runs until 31 July.
“The NOI marks a significant milestone in Beacon Wind’s path towards regulatory approval. It also initiates a public review period that provides an important opportunity to gather feedback as the project progresses”, said Molly Morris, President, Equinor Renewables Americas.
“Beacon Wind 1 will generate enough renewable energy to power more than one million New York homes and will also be a significant driver of economic development in the region. Beacon Wind 2 has the potential to power over a million additional U.S. homes once contracted. We will continue to closely engage with federal officials, state regulators, and a wide range of interested stakeholders as we work together to advance one of the largest offshore wind projects in the U.S.”
The Beacon Wind area, which covers 128,000 acres, is located more than 97 kilometres (60 miles) east of Montauk Point and 32 kilometres (20 miles) south of Nantucket.
Equinor and BP plan to install up to 155 wind turbines, up to two offshore substation platforms, and up to two offshore export cables that would make landfall in New York and Connecticut. Each wind farm is planned to comprise between 61 and 94 wind turbines, with 33 wind turbines in an overlap area between the two sites that could be incorporated into either of the two wind farms, according to the COP.
If approved, the two projects’ development and construction phases could support up to an estimated 6,491 jobs.
This first phase, 1,230 MW Beacon Wind 1, is currently under development and is planned to connect to the grid in Queens, New York. The project already has a 25-year offtake agreement in place with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
The 1,200 MW Beacon Wind 2, located in the southern portion of the lease area that Equinor acquired in BOEM’s lease sale in 2018, will be developed at a later date and could be connected to the grid either in Waterford, Connecticut, or Queens, New York.
This second phase is being developed to address the need for renewable energy identified by states across the region, including New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, the developers state in the COP.
“The interconnectedness of the New England transmission system, managed by the New England ISO (ISO-NE), allows a single point of interconnection in the region to deliver offshore wind energy to all of the New England states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine)”.
Onshore construction for Beacon Wind 1 is expected to start no earlier than in the first quarter of 2025 and offshore construction a year later, with the first power produced in 2028.
For Beacon Wind 2, Equinor and BP expect onshore works to start in 2025 and offshore construction in the first quarter of 2027, at the earliest. Beacon Wind 2 is anticipated to produce its first power in 2029.