offshore wind farm

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First Large-Scale Offshore Wind Farm in U.S. Waters Wins Federal Approval

Mike Schuler
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May 11, 2021

The Biden Administration today announced the approval for the construction and operation of Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm.

The announcement was made jointly by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who were joined by labor union leaders.

The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind energy project will be located approximately 12 nautical miles offshore Martha’s Vineyard and 12 nautical miles offshore Nantucket in the northern portion of Vineyard Wind’s lease area. The project is anticipated to create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses.

“A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States. The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the Administration’s goals to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Today is one of many actions we are determined to take to open the doors of economic opportunity to more Americans.”

Today’s Record of Decision (ROD) grants Vineyard Wind final federal approval to install 84 or fewer turbines at the site. Turbines will be installed in an east-west orientation and a minimum spacing of 1 nautical mile between them in the north-south and east-west directions, consistent with the U.S. Coast Guard recommendations in the Final Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study. It also adopts mitigation measures to help avoid, minimize, reduce, or eliminate adverse environmental effects that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed project.

“This project represents the power of a government-wide approach to offshore wind permitting, taking stakeholder ideas and concerns into consideration every step of the way,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton. “We will continue to advance new projects that will incorporate lessons learned from analyzing this project to ensure an efficient and predictable process for industry and stakeholders.”

“Today’s offshore wind project announcement demonstrates that we can fight the climate crisis, while creating high-paying jobs and strengthening our competitiveness at home and abroad,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This project is an example of the investments we need to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious climate goals, and I’m proud to be part of the team leading the charge on offshore wind.”

Vineyard Wind kicks off the Biden Administration’s goal of 30 gigawatts of installed renewable offshore wind energy by 2030. Since January 20, the Department of the Interior has initiated the environmental review of two other offshore wind projects and pursued additional leasing opportunities in the New York Bight.

Prior to construction, Vineyard Wind will submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report, providing specific details for how the facility will be fabricated and installed in accordance with the approved Construction and Operations Plan.

Vineyard Wind had previously selected a U.S.-based arm of Belgian marine services provider DEME to transport and install wind turbine generators for the project. The plan involves a combination of Jones Act-qualified feeder ships, provided by Foss, and a foreign-flagged installation vessel from DEME Offshore.

The project’s developer, Vineyard Wind, is a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

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