Lawsuit challenges $2.8b Vineyard Wind project

Lawsuit challenges $2.8b Vineyard Wind project

Operator of a solar farm in New Haven sues to stop what would be the nation’s largest offshore wind energy installation

Updated July 21, 2021, 8:06 p.m.4

A prototype version of the turbines the developers of Vineyard Wind would install south of Martha's Vineyard in the nation's largest wind energy project.
A prototype version of the turbines the developers of Vineyard Wind would install south of Martha’s Vineyard in the nation’s largest wind energy project.PHOTO COURTESY OF VINEYARD WIND

WIND ENERGY

Solar farm operator sues to block massive Vineyard Wind project

The owner of a New Haven-based solar farm operator has sued the US Department of Interior to overturn the federal agency’s recent approval of a 62-turbine wind farm to be developed by the Vineyard Wind joint venture off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Thomas Melone filed the lawsuit in Boston federal court on Sunday, on behalf of a company he owns, Allco Renewable Energy Ltd. A part-time Edgartown resident and a boater, Melone cites numerous issues with Vineyard Wind that he says could adversely affect the Martha’s Vineyard environment. For example, he said piping plovers could be threatened by any spill of contaminants such as oil from the project. He also cited concerns about the impact on commercial fishermen who normally ply the waters south of the Vineyard where the wind farm would be built. Melone claims the Interior Department, under President Joe Biden, rushed an approval even though Vineyard Wind switched turbines to a larger windmill, dubbed the Haliade-X, by manufacturer General Electric during the review process; Melone argues that Interior did not properly vet whether these GE turbines could endure a Category 3 hurricane. He also contends a large government-supported offshore wind farm such as this one is designed to decimate on-shore renewable resources, such as Allco’s solar farms. A spokesman for Vineyard Wind, a venture jointly owned by Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, declined to comment about the lawsuit. A spokesman for the Interior Department also declined to comment. — JON CHESTO

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