Fed’s Move on Offshore Wind an Important Step Forward for Climate Action

BOSTON, MA (March 8, 2021) – Today, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) took an important step forward for climate action by issuing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Vineyard Wind, on track to be the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project. This progress is an important symbol of the Biden Administration’s commitment to combatting climate change, which is an existential threat to our communities, the environment, and wildlife.

New England for Offshore Wind, a broad-based coalition of associations, businesses, environmental and justice organizations, institutions, and labor unions, applauds BOEM’s action to advance offshore wind development, which will provide real environmental and economic benefits to Massachusetts and New England. The power from this offshore wind project will be enough to power 400,000 homes and will create thousands of jobs.

Offshore wind is New England’s best opportunity for new sources of energy – it is the single biggest lever we can pull to reduce emissions, address the climate crisis, and grow the economy at the same time. We must advance offshore wind as swiftly as responsible development will allow, with stringent wildlife and environmental protection measures in place every step of the way as well as strong standards for labor and workforce development. We aim to drive continuous improvement that aligns with our core values of respect, science-based decision making, equity, and economic justice to ensure we maximize the local economic benefits and climate benefits in this new clean energy industry.

Susannah Hatch, Environmental League of Massachusetts Clean Energy Coalition Director and New England for Offshore Wind Regional Lead said: 
“Offshore wind will be the linchpin of our decarbonization efforts in New England – in a net zero world it will likely provide 50% of our clean energy supply by 2050. We applaud BOEM for moving forward with this project. Moving swiftly on responsibly developed offshore wind is critical to our efforts to mitigate climate change, and offshore wind also provides an enormous opportunity to grow the economy, create thousands of jobs, and drive equitable economic benefits through increased minority economic participation in New England.”

Catherine Bowes, National Wildlife Federation Offshore Wind Energy Program Director said:
“Offshore wind energy is a game-changer for our transition to a clean energy economy. We look forward to reviewing the environmental impact statement for this historic project and continuing to work with the Biden Administration, industry leaders, and our partners to ensure that all offshore wind projects protect wildlife every step of the way while investing in jobs and clean energy that benefits local communities. America’s pursuit of this critical climate solution must be guided by robust stakeholder input and scientific integrity throughout the process in order to protect and benefit people and wildlife alike.”

Jen Benson, The Alliance for Business Leadership President said:
“Business leaders recognize the need to ramp up the region’s clean energy production, both to mitigate the climate-related costs of doing business such as intense heat waves and property damage, and to lower the cost of electricity. With the Vineyard Wind project moving forward, New England will be poised to become a national hub for offshore wind while creating thousands of jobs and opportunities for communities previously left behind in the clean energy economy. Offshore wind is an incredible opportunity to address climate change, lower energy costs, and begin to address environmental justice and inequities in the clean energy sector.”

Andrew Gottlieb, Association to Preserve Cape Cod Executive Director said:
“Today’s decision by BOEM to advance Vineyard Wind marks a turning point by the federal government toward an embrace of the renewable energy sources that must become part of our response to our clean energy future.”

Christopher Niezrecki, University of Massachusetts Lowell and WindSTAR Chair of Mechanical Engineering said:
“UMass Lowell’s National Science Foundation WindSTAR Center is very supportive of the first large installation of offshore wind (Vineyard Wind) and has supported the Coast Guard’s recommendation for spacing of the wind turbines. We have reviewed the benefits of offshore wind and understand that without the development of this offshore wind energy resource, it will be very difficult for the Commonwealth and the U.S. to meet its climate change goals.”

Ben Hellerstein, Environment Massachusetts State Director, said:
“Massachusetts has an incredible amount of untapped offshore wind potential just off our coasts. With Vineyard Wind 1 moving forward, we now have a chance to make the most of it and get much closer to a future powered by clean renewable energy. Let’s go big on offshore wind and prioritize its timely, responsible development.”

Charles J. Rothenberger, Save the Sound Climate & Energy Attorney said:
“Offshore Wind is an essential component of a successful transition to a clean energy economy. We are pleased to see the federal government recognizing the critical role that offshore wind will play in addressing climate change, and we look forward to continuing to work to ensure that these projects are sited and operated in an environmentally responsible manner.”