Thomas Melone, owner of Connecticut-based Allco Renewable Energy, operator of 23 solar projects, has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of the Interior, arguing that the process to approve the Vineyard Wind offshore wind facility was rushed and failed to consider all issues. The 62-turbine wind farm to be located off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard is the first major offshore wind facility to be approved in the US.
Melone claims the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which approved Vineyard Wind’s environmental permit, neglected to review Vineyard Wind’s potential impacts on other ocean users, endangered species and onshore renewable-energy suppliers. He lists 18 deficiencies in BOEM’s review process.
Melone alleges that BOEM did not assess the GE Haliade-X wind turbine’s capability to endure a Category 3 hurricane. If damaged during a major storm, says Melone, a turbine could spill oil into the waters. He says an oil spill would harm wildlife, including piping plovers, already a threatened species.
He believes local commercial fishermen will be adversely affected, along with small renewable-energy operators, including Allco. Further, he asserts that, by weakening other renewable-energy operations, the Vineyard Wind project would actually intensify climate change.