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A plan to build the first utility-scale offshore wind project near Cape Cod— The Vineyard Wind project— has been delayed once again. The project has been delayed over a year as the federal government has requested increasingly rigorous permits.
A final permit for the Vineyard Wind project had been expected by December 18, 2020, but the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management pushed its decision back to January 15, 2021.
Why This Matters: President Trump has been hostile toward the renewable energy industry, but his continued delay of this offshore power development has been particularly noteworthy. In a press conference at the end of the G-7 summitin August 2019, the President said he would not “lose” our country’s “tremendous wealth … on dreams and windmills, which, frankly, aren’t working too well.” He’s added that natural gas would work much better than “big windmills that destroy everybody’s property values, kill all the birds” and rely on the wind blowing.
The more than $3bn first phase project has contracted to sell power to utilities in Massachusetts, generating enough electricity to serve more than 400,000 households and businesses, the company has said.
Wind project developers hope that a Biden administration will mean that stalled projects such and Vineyard Wind can begin to make headway again.
“A final federal decision on the 800-megawatt offshore wind farm had initially been expected by Aug. 16, 2019 but BOEM sent shockwaves through the offshore wind industry in August 2019 when it announced a plan to withhold the final environmental impact statement for Vineyard Wind while it studies the wider impacts of an offshore wind sector that is hoping to ramp up in Northeast and mid-Atlantic waters also used by the fishing industry.”
A Hostile White House: While the Trump administration has dismissed wind power, offshore wind projects make economic sense— a December 2018 federal auction for ocean tracts off the coast of Massachusetts earned $405 million. There are many wind turbine projects in development, such that BOEM expects approximately 22 gigawatts of offshore wind development in total, based on the construction of about 2,000 wind turbines over a 10-year period.
Next Steps: Had the timeline of the Vineyard Wind project continued as initially planned, funding would have been finalized and construction would have begun in 2019, put the first turbine into the seabed in 2021, and started generating electricity in 2022. The CEO of Vineyard Wind, Lars Pedersen, suggested that his company will be prepared to begin construction as soon as it gets final government approval.
The United States has 15 active commercial leases for offshore wind farms and according to statistics from the American Wind Energy Association, if these farms were constructed, they could generate 30 gigawatts of electricity, create 83,000 jobs, and bring in 25 billion dollars in annual economic output over the next ten years.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The world desperately needs more sources of emissions-free energy, yet as these power sources are brought online, we must also contend with their impact on animals and ecosystems. In California, government officials are trying to rescue California condors, which are critically endangered, from being killed by the blades of […]
In the wake of one of the largest power losses in United States history, the conversation about green energy in Texas is back in the headlines. Emily Holden and two other investigative reporters collaborated on a story that ran in The Guardian, The Texas Observer, and San Antonio Report exposing how the Texas Gas Service was successful in significantly watering down a plan by the city of Austin to reduce the use of natural gas there in the future.
Why This Matters: The oil industry has spent billions to manipulate the national conversation around green energy.
By Lew Milford With its recent executive orders on environmental justice, the Biden administration has put energy equity at the front and center of its domestic policy agenda. The challenge now is to put these principles into practice. That job has been made much more critical with the massive power outage that just crippled Texas. […]
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