First Main U.S. Wind Farm Building Begins Off Massachusetts—And Extra Are Coming

First Major U.S. Wind Farm Construction Begins Off Massachusetts—And More Are Coming


Building of the preliminary generators within the first main U.S. offshore wind farm started this week south of Martha’s Winery off the coast of Massachusetts, following a years-long authorized battle and a collection of federal slow-downs over the controversial undertaking—a part of the Biden Administration’s push for inexperienced vitality and the primary in a wall of offshore wind initiatives off the East Coast.

Key Details

Building started on the muse of the primary of 62 almost 850-foot-tall generators as a part of the Winery Wind I undertaking, the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, roughly 15 miles south of Martha’s Winery, the firm introduced Wednesday.

Winery Wind, which was first authorized for a virtually 167,000-acre federal lease web site from the Bureau of Ocean Power Administration in 2015, is one in every of 9 proposed offshore wind farms south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island leased by way of the federal authorities (totaling roughly 742,000 acres)—a part of President Joe Biden’s objective of making 30 gigawatts of offshore wind vitality by 2030 and an instrumental a part of his formidable objective of attaining web zero emissions by 2050.

Builders of the Winery Wind undertaking say the 800-megawatt undertaking will generate sufficient electrical energy for greater than 400,000 houses in Massachusetts and save electrical energy prospects roughly $1.4 billion over its first 20 years of operation, although it’s confronted opposition over potential environmental degradation, in addition to aesthetic and navigational issues.

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Winery Wind is predicted to be accomplished by the tip of the 12 months, making it the primary main offshore wind undertaking accomplished—smaller operations have been constructed off Block Island, Rhode Island, and one other off Virginia Seaside, Virginia.

The brand new undertaking confronted a number of slowdowns, largely after a gaggle of residents on Nantucket sued to dam the undertaking over issues it may imperil the dwindling inhabitants of the critically-endangered North Atlantic proper whale (the go well with was rejected final month).

What To Watch For

BOEM has additionally carved out one other 800,000 acres off the coast of Lengthy Island and New Jersey, and 1.7 million acres spanning from Delaware to North Carolina. In February, the Biden Administration introduced three extra lease websites within the Gulf of Mexico off Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two off the shore of Galveston, Texas. The White Home additionally introduced $50 million in funding to analysis floating offshore wind generators off the coast of California, Maine and Oregon. A second undertaking off Martha’s Winery known as SouthCoast Wind expects to ship vitality by way of an undersea cable by “the tip of the 2020s,” whereas one other undertaking with a lease web site south of Massachusetts, Commonwealth Wind, is predicted to return on line in 2028.

Chief Critic

Though offshore wind has been largely praised by Democrats for offering a substitute for fossil fuels and as a strategy to create hundreds of jobs, a slew of conservative lawmakers have slammed the initiative, together with a trio of GOP Home members from New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, who known as for a halt to offshore wind this week amid a collection of whale deaths off the East Coast. A bunch of 30 mayors in New Jersey additionally known as for a moratorium on offshore wind exercise as a consequence of an uncommon variety of humpback whale deaths—although these whale deaths have been attributed primarily to vessel strikes, and the Nationwide Oceanic Atmospheric Administration has not discovered any proof pointing to building of wind generators inflicting whale mortalities.

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Additional Studying

Biden’s Offshore Wind Goals Face Rising Controversy, Opposition (Forbes)

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