US gives final federal approval to 1st large-scale offshore wind project

A picture from Cathie Associates visit to the US’ first commercial offshore wind farm; Block Island.

May 11 (Renewables Now) - The Biden-Harris administration granted on Tuesday final federal approval for the execution of the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.

The project will result in the construction of the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm and aligns with President Joe Biden’s objective of generating 30 GW of power from this particular source by 2030.

The Vineyard Wind plant will be built about 12 miles (19.3 km) off Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in the northern portion of the namesake lease area. Up to 84 turbines will be installed there, in an east-west orientation, with a minimum spacing of 1 mile between them in the north-south and east-west directions, according to the announcement by the US Department of the Interior.

Today’s Record of Decision (ROD) is jointly signed by and addresses permitting decisions by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Vineyard Wind is co-developed and co-owned by the renewables unit of Avangrid Inc (NYSE:AGR), namely Avangrid Renewables, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). They will need to submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report before initiating construction work.

The project is expected to create 3,600 jobs and generate enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses.

“This approval should signal “go” to all the supply chain companies that were waiting to see if the industry would move to commercial scale construction,” said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “All indicators point to the federal government continuing to move other projects forward through the permitting process, taking into account the unique characteristics of each Wind Energy Area,” she added.

At present, the US only has two smaller offshore wind parks in operation -- the 30-MW Block Island facility off Rhode Island and the 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demo park off Virginia.

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