White House approves major offshore wind project

WASHINGTON (thehill): The Biden administration on Tuesday announced that it has approved construction of what it described as the first large-scale offshore wind project in the country.

The Vineyard Wind project, which will consist of up to 84 wind turbines, is expected to be able to produce enough energy to power more than 400,000 homes, the administration said.

The project will be located 12 nautical miles from both Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Nantucket, Mass., and is expected to be completed in 2023.

“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 combating climate change and powering our nation,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

The Vineyard Wind project had faced setbacks during the Trump administration. In December, it said it wanted to halt its goal of getting a federal permit and was later told by the Trump administration that it would need to start all over again.

However, the Biden administration advanced it in March and has said that the 800-megawatt project will help it reach its goal of generating 30,000 megawatts by 2030.

The project is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewable. It is significantly larger than the country’s other offshore wind farms, a 30-megawatt farm near Rhode Island and a 12-megawatt project near Virginia.

An environmental review for the plan has noted that it is expected to negatively impact commercial fishing.

But it also said that Vineyard Wind promised compensation funds for lost revenue for fishing interests in Rhode Island and Massachusetts of $25.4 million, which could lessen the impacts.

“We did include mitigation measures within the project as it advanced” Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Amanda Lefton told reporters when asked about fishing impacts.

“We know that as offshore wind continues to advance in the United States, doing even more to work with ocean users, the commercial fishing industry included among them, is going to be incredibly important,” Lefton said.

“If you think about how complex it is to erect a wind turbine in the middle of the ocean, you need engineers, you need operating engineers, you need laborers, you need electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters.