“The U.S. Interior Departmentapproved the country’s first large-scale offshore wind project Tuesday, a final hurdle that reverses course from the Trump administration and sets the stage for a major shift in the energy landscape.
This “is a significant milestone in our efforts to build a clean and more equitable energy future while addressing the climate emergency,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said during a press briefing. She said an expansion of wind energy is critical to President Biden’s ambitious climate goals to make the electricity sector carbon-neutral.
The $2.8 billion project, known as Vineyard Wind 1, will consist of 62 turbines spaced about a mile apart, each standing about 837 feet above the water’s surface. Cables buried beneath the ocean floor will connect the power from these turbines with the New England grid onshore.
The project is expected to produce enough renewable electricity to power 400,000 Massachusetts homes every year while also saving ratepayers billions of dollars and reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions in the state by about 1.68 million metric tons.
Lars Pedersen, Vineyard Wind’s CEO, recently told public radio station WBUR that he expects offshore construction to begin next year, with renewable energy flowing to the grid by the end of 2023.
Pederson called Vineyard Wind’s approval “the launch of a new industry.” More than a dozen wind farms are being developed in federal waters off the East Coast, and states along the seaboard are eager for the economic development that could bring.
In March, the Biden administration announced a national goal of installing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030. According to the White House, hitting this target would create thousands of jobs and provide enough clean electricity to power about 10 million homes in the U.S. every year.
It’s an ambitious target for a nascent industry that has lagged far behind its European counterpart. The U.S. currently has just seven wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean, off Rhode Island and Virginia. Europe, by contrast, has more than 5,000….”