EPA approves Air Permit for Vineyard Wind

By: Tom Russell

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20/05/2021 EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final Clean Air Act Outer Continental Shelf air quality permit to Vineyard Wind 1, LLC. The permit includes air pollution control requirements for the construction and operation of the
Vineyard Wind 1 project. By issuing this permit, construction can now begin on the nation's first major offshore wind project, which will be in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts.

The permit regulates pollutants from "Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sources," such as jack-up barges that will construct each wind turbine and the electrical service platforms. Additionally, emissions associated with air-emitting devices used during the operation of the wind farm, i.e., generators used as a source of back-up electricity for space conditioning where sensitive electronics are housed, are also regulated.

Consistent with Clean Air Act requirements for Outer Continental Shelf sources, to-and-fro vessel emissions were considered to be direct emissions from the source. When considering these vessel emissions, as well as emissions associated with construction, operation, and maintenance-related activities, the permit requires stringent "lowest achievable emissions rates" for oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, as well as "best available control technologies" for particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, and greenhouse gases.

Additionally, the permit requires emission offsets for oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds. This is the first of several wind farm projects proposed on the outer continental shelf south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

"The innovative Clean Air Act permit issued for the Vineyard Wind project will ensure that the vessels working to construct the wind farm operate with the best available technology to reduce emissions of air pollution during the construction and ongoing operation of the wind farm," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "The Biden Administration has called on the nation to build a clean energy economy and expand opportunities for development of an American offshore wind industry. EPA New England is proud to play a role helping to accomplish this goal."

Just last week the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce announced announced the approval of the construction and operation of the
Vineyard Wind 1 project — the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States. The project will be located approximately 12 nautical miles offshore Martha's Vineyard and 12 nautical miles offshore Nantucket in the northern portion of Vineyard Wind’s lease area. It is expected to create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses annually.

Prior to construction, Vineyard Wind must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report. These engineering and technical reports provide specific details for how the facility will be fabricated and installed in accordance with the approved Construction and Operations Plan.

The project is being developed by Vineyard Wind LLC based in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The company is 50 percent owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent by Avangrid Renewables. The project partners are expected to reach financial close in the second half of 2021.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here. You can also view projects worldwide on 4C Offshore's interactive map.

About the Author

4C Offshore | Tom Russell