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First large offshore US wind farm near Martha’s Vineyard approved by Biden administration

·2-min read
Offshore Wind (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Offshore Wind (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The first large-scale, offshore wind project has been approved in the US, the Biden administration announced on Tuesday.

The Vineyard Wind energy project is located 12 nautical miles from Martha’s Vineyard, and the same distance from Nantucket island in Massachusetts.

The $3 billion project will create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses, according to the Interior Department.

“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,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said.

The 800-megawatt (MW) project, near Cape Cod, is the first utility-scale wind development in federal waters and part of the Biden administration’s goal of generating 30 gigawatts (GW) of energy from offshore wind by 2030 (800MW is equivalent to 0.8GW).

The government has granted approval for the company to install 84 or fewer turbines off Massachusetts. Each turbine will be spaced 1 nautical mile apart, in accordance with US Coast Guard recommendations.

“Today’s Record of Decision is not about the start of a single project, but the launch of a new industry,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen.

“Receiving this final major federal approval means the jobs, economic benefits and clean energy revolution associated with the Vineyard Wind 1 project can finally come to fruition.”

The project has faced opposition from a coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies. The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) released a statement on Tuesday condemning “in the strongest possible terms” the project.

“For the past decade, fishermen have participated in offshore wind meetings whenever they were asked and produced reasonable requests only to be met with silence,” says Anne Hawkins, RODA executive director.

“From this silence now emerges unilateral action and a clear indication that those in authority care more about multinational businesses and energy politics than our environment, domestic food sources, or US citizens.”

A separate project called Ocean Wind has also been proposed, creating another 1,100-megawatt project off New Jersey.

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