USA's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm receives govt approval

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The Biden administration has reportedly given a green signal for the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the US. This is expected to dramatically propel the growth of the country’s wind energy sector after facing regulatory uncertainties for years.

According to the credible sources, the Interior Department (DOI) granted permission to the Vineyard Wind project to install up to 84 turbines off the Massachusetts coast. After its completion, this project is anticipated to produce around 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400,000 homes.

This is supposed to significantly scale up the current capacity of offshore wind in the US. At present, there are only two minor developments off the East Coast having combined capacity of generating only 42 megawatts of electricity.

Reportedly, Biden administration has large ambitions regarding offshore wind. It aims to obtain 30,000 megawatts of energy from offshore wind farms by 2030. This is apparently the part a bigger plan of tackling climate change by reaching 100% electricity by 2035.

Speaking of the project, Deb Haaland, Interior Secretary stated that a clean energy future can be attained in the US. The project approval is a vital step in advancing the administration’s goals of creating good-paying union jobs while curbing climate change and powering the nation, Haaland added.

For the records, Vineyard Wind had initially submitted the construction and operations plan for federal approval in 2017. However, plans for the project have been in progress since 2009. Now that it has received approval, it is anticipated to be operational by 2023, developers of the project, Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners mentioned.

Record of Decision for Vineyard Wind farm from the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management seems to be a positive sign for other offshore wind projects awaiting federal consent. It is also a big opportunity for adjacent industries like shipbuilding.

To develop new projects, specialized vessels are required. However, shipbuilders were reportedly reluctant about investing in new builds until larger projects received permits to proceed. Vineyard Wind’s approval could enable both industries to progress.

Source credits: https://www.theverge.com/2021/5/11/22430981/offshore-wind-farm-commercial-scale-federal-approval-vineyard-wind-massachusetts