Biden administration approves first major US offshore windfarm

Joe Biden’s administration has approved the construction of the US’s first large-scale offshore windfarm, with 84 turbines to be erected off the coast of Massachusetts.

The approval of the project, which will generate about 800 megawatts of energy, enough to power around 400,000 homes and businesses, is a boost to Biden’s agenda of ramping up renewable energy production across the US in order to confront the climate crisis.

The US has lagged behind other countries in offshore wind, despite its lengthy coastlines, but the Biden administration said the new Vineyard Wind project will be the first of many as it aims to generate 30 gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030. Two other offshore proposals, located in New York, are also now under review.

“A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States,” said Deb Haaland, secretary of the interior. “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.”

The $2.8bn development, a joint venture between energy firms Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, will be located about 12 nautical miles from the shoreline of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The administration said the project will create 3,600 new jobs.

Jonathan Cole, the head of Iberdrola’s global offshore wind business, said the US government’s approval for Vineyard Wind was the project’s latest “watershed moment” for the US offshore wind industry.

The project surprised industry observers in 2018 by setting a record low price in a government auction to procure electricity. The lower than expected price, combined with its size, showed that offshore wind would “grow quicker than everyone thought, bigger than everyone thought, and cheaper than everyone thought”, Cole said.

Read More   Holy resurrection: Monks revive ancient beer-craft

“A key part of President Biden’s energy plan is to ramp up offshore wind as a central part of the US decarbonisation plan. But the Vineyard project is really kicking off the industry in earnest. It’s a bit of a watershed. It’s a huge moment for what will be a really exciting market,” Cole said.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email

The joint venture expects to make a final investment decision on the project “within months”, and will begin constructing the offshore windfarm later this year so it can start generating clean electricity by 2024.

“We’ve seen the potential in the US for many years, and we have quite a big pipeline of projects totalling 7,000 megawatts that we’re working on off the coast of Massachusetts, or down the coast of North Carolina. Vineyard is the first of many,” Cole said.

“US states, particularly in the north-east, have been putting in place targets for offshore wind, and legislating the processes for procuring offshore wind. But under the new government administration there is a far better alignment between the federal government and the US states in terms of the potential for offshore wind,” Cole said.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.