Vineyard Wind Project Nears Final Approval

GE Haliade X turbine      Photo: GE via Vineyard Wind

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

After years of delays, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Vineyard Wind 1, which is located in an area of the Atlantic Ocean about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The publication of the EIS puts the wind project one step away from federal approval. This project will be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States — it will have 62 GE turbines and cost just over $2 billion. Its 800 megawatts of electricity will connect to the grid via two export cables buried under the seabed across Nantucket Sound, making landfall at Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Why this Matters:  This project has overcome objections from President Trump, local fishers, and even some local environmental organizations. Under the company’s original timeline, construction would have begun in 2019 and started generating electricity in 2022.  On January 25, President Biden pushed the process forward as part of his clean-energy agenda. In January he signed an executive order to double wind generation off the US coast by 2030. This project alone meets that goal, but the success of Vineyard Wind may allow further offshore wind construction.  The project will provide jobs and lower electricity bills in the region, not to mention lower carbon emissions.

Next Steps

After the BOEM’s approval, the project will be formally authorized 30 days later, in April. Next, according to Electrek, “Vineyard Wind 1 is expected to reach financial close in the second half of 2021 and go live in late 2023.”

This project is a collaboration between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. When constructed, the wind farm will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year. 

The project will create opportunities for over 2,120 workers, while also employing around 500 workers in indirect supply-chain jobs and creating 30 new jobs annually through its 25-year life-cycle. Vineyard Wind also plans to work with local unions to find highly skilled laborers. 

Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen said of the decision,  “More than three years of federal review and public comment is nearing its conclusion and 2021 is poised to be a momentous year for our project and the broader offshore wind industry. Offshore wind is a historic opportunity to build a new industry that will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, reduce electricity rates for consumers and contribute significantly to limiting the impacts of climate change.”

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