Wind Energy Areas
- The ocean management plan establishes three categories of management areas: Prohibited, Renewable Energy, and Multi-Use. Renewable Energy Areas allow commercial- and community-scale wind energy development. Two Wind Energy Areas are designated for commercial-scale wind energy facilities based on the presence of a suitable wind resource and water depth, and the absence of conflict with other uses or sensitive resources, as derived through an environmental screening process. These areas will be subject to additional baseline feasibility analysis for such factors as wave climate and sub-bottom geology. Using generic industry guidelines for spacing, these areas could accommodate approximately 150 3.6 megawatt (MW) turbines at full build-out. Based on further analysis for technical or economic viability, there may be siting constraints that would reduce the sites' capacity. The Gosnold Wind Energy Area is designated for commercial wind energy development (defined as projects that are larger than the community-scale allocations described under Renewable Energy Siting/Management), subject to terms described under Renewable Energy Siting/Management in the plan. Community-scale wind energy development is also allowed within the Gosnold Wind Energy Area. Future project development in this area is subject to review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and all other necessary local, state and federal approvals. The intent of the designation is to signify that, based on the rigorous environmental screening under the ocean management plan, the area is presumptively suitable for commercial-scale wind. Development of a commercial-scale wind energy facility shall be permitted in this area subject to reasonable conditions developed in consultation with local officials. The Martha's Vineyard Wind Energy Area is designated for wind energy development at a scale to be determined by the Martha's Vineyard Commission. As discussed under Siting/Management, planning authorities with regulatory authority shall define the appropriate scale of any wind energy project located within waters of those municipalities that are subject to the jurisdiction of such regional planning authorities as of the date of this plan. To allow for consistent evaluation and comparison of a variety of datasets with distinct spatial resolutions, accuracies, and other characteristics, the ocean management planning area was partitioned into 250 x 250-meter grid cells, each with a unique ID. These data were converted to the planning area grid by extracting all of the cells in which the data layer occurred. The data were then dissolved into one feature.
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