Vineyard Wind was dealt two major setbacks this week that could affect its plan to build the country’s first large scale offshore wind farm.
First, it was the Edgartown Conservation Commission on Martha’s Vineyard which denied the developer’s application to lay transmission cables in the area, citing potential “adverse effects” from burying the cables underground.
"The predictions offered by Vineyard Wind were not sufficient to allow the alteration of the resources of Muskeget channel at this time," the commission said in a statement citing a lack of information on de-commission plans for the cables and the effects of future wind development projects on the ecosystem.
Commercial fishermen across the region say the electromagnetic waves emanated by the cables will endanger the fish they rely on. Vineyard Wind denies the claims.
In a statement, Vineyard Wind says the commission’s decision is "flawed" and "inconsistent with evidence." The commission has 30 days to issue a written determination which solidifies their vote. It says they will have written findings by late next week. Vineyard Wind will then have 10 days to request a so-called superseding order to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to overturn the denial of the project.
Vineyard Wind suffered it's second roadblock on Wednesday when federal officials said they weren’t ready to make a decision on a critical report that’s needed to construct the 84-turbine wind farm. The environmental impact statement is still under review.
Both decisions may put the project’s timeline in disarray because a $600 million federal tax credit will be forfeited if the developer doesn’t begin construction before the end of the year.