Construction starts on 800-MW Vineyard Wind

First sod turned for the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind project. Image source: Iberdrola (handout)

November 19 (Renewables Now) - The 800-MW Vineyard Wind 1 project is finally going under construction after much wrangling over permits and other challenges that delayed the commissioning of the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the US by two years.

On Thursday, the Vineyard Wind developing duo, Avangrid Renewables LLC and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) held a ground-breaking ceremony at Covell’s Beach in Barnstable to mark the milestone in the presence of around 200 guests, including US government and Massachusetts state leaders.

The Vineyard Wind 1 wind farm will be located off the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, while its two export cables will lead to Barnstable County and make landfall at Covell’s Beach to connect to a substation further inland on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The project will use 62 units of the Haliade-X 13-MW turbines supplied by GE Renewable Energy. The turbines were supposed to start spinning in 2021, but then the project review stalled, and the power delivery is now slated for 2023.

The US federal authorities gave their final blessing for the project in May 2021. In September, Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of energy company Avangrid Inc (NYSE:AGR), and CIP reached financial close after securing USD 2.3 billion (EUR 2.03bn) in senior debt.

“Many people have worked extremely hard to make today possible, a day where we turn forward thinking into action,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen. “From the environmental and community activists to our elected leadership at the local, state and federal level, it’s taken all of us, pulling in the same direction and not being deterred by setbacks both large and small”.

“Massachusetts is proud to launch an entirely new industry in the United States by building this historic, first-in-the-nation project, and by officially beginning onshore construction on the Vineyard Wind project, we are charting a new course for clean energy and climate action,” added Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

Offshore construction works are scheduled to start in 2022.

Avangrid Inc is majority-owned by Spanish electric utility group Iberdrola SA (BME:IBE). In a separate statement today, Iberdrola said that it is committed to investing over USD 35 billion in the US in 2020-2025.

Two months ago, Avangrid Renewables and CIP agreed to restructure the ownership over projects and US offshore wind leases held by their 50/50 joint venture Vineyard Wind LLC. Under the agreement, the Vineyard Wind 1 project will continue to be co-owned 50/50 by Avangrid Renewables and CIP, but the partners will seek to go separate ways on two other leases in the Atlantic Ocean, it was announced at the time.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.885)

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Sladjana has significant experience as a Spain-focused business news reporter and is now diving deeper into the global renewable energy industry. She is the person to seek if you need information about Latin American renewables and the Spanish market.

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