US approves 800-MW Vineyard Wind as its first major offshore wind farm
The US federal government has given the green light to the country's largest offshore wind farm to date, and one that will greatly expand its capacity to generate this form of renewable energy. The Vineyard Wind 1 project will feature dozens of the world's most powerful offshore wind turbines, which will work together to generate enough electricity for up to 400,000 homes.
The approval follows steps taken this year by the Biden administration to ramp up offshore wind projects in the US, which ultimately work towards the target of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Such an achievement is expected to generate enough power for more than 10 million American homes, and negate 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
As it stands, the US is home to almost 70,000 wind turbines generating around 120 GW, though only a fraction of that comes from offshore facilities. The newly approved Vineyard Wind 1 project off the coast of Massachusetts marks a massive expansion of this by adding 800 MW, and is expected to create around 3,600 jobs in area.
The approval clears the way for the construction of 84 turbines around 12 nautical miles (13.8 mi or 22 km) off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, an island in the Atlantic. As we learned late last year, turbines for the Vineyard Wind 1 project will be Haliade-X turbines from GE Renewable Energy, which stand 853 ft (260 m) tall as the world's largest and most powerful.
Because of their output, Vineyard Wind says only 62 of these turbines will be required to generate the 800 MW. These turbines will be spaced at least one nautical mile (1.8 km or 1.1 miles) apart and will be installed in an east-west orientation in line with US Coast Guard guidelines.
“Today’s offshore wind project announcement demonstrates that we can fight the climate crisis, while creating high-paying jobs and strengthening our competitiveness at home and abroad,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This project is an example of the investments we need to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious climate goals, and I’m proud to be part of the team leading the charge on offshore wind.”
While the Vineyard Wind 1 project will be the largest off-shore wind farm in the US by some margin, it still pales in comparison to the world's largest, the 3.6-GW Dogger Bank project in the UK.
Vineyard Farm is expected to start delivering energy to Massachusetts in 2023.