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First large-scale, offshore wind project in the US gets greenlight

Wind turbine. (Image by JACLOU-DL, Pixabay).

The US Departments of the Interior and Commerce approved the construction and operation of the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States. 

Called the Vineyard Wind energy project, the 800-megawatt operation will be located approximately 12 nautical miles offshore from Martha’s Vineyard and 12 nautical miles offshore Nantucket in the northern portion of Vineyard Wind’s lease area.

The project is expected to generate 30 gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030, enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses.

The Record of Decision issued this week grants Vineyard Wind final federal approval to install 84 or fewer turbines off Massachusetts

The Record of Decision issued this week grants Vineyard Wind final federal approval to install 84 or fewer turbines off Massachusetts. Turbines will be installed in an east-west orientation, and all the turbines will have a minimum spacing of 1 nautical mile between them in the north-south and east-west directions, consistent with the US Coast Guard recommendations in the Final Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study.

Mitigation measures were also considered to help avoid, minimize, reduce, or eliminate adverse environmental effects that could result from the construction and operation of the turbines. 

According to the departments that granted the approval, these mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements were developed through input, consultation, and coordination with stakeholders, Native American Tribes, and federal and state agencies. 

“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,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a media statement. 

According to Haaland, building the offshore wind supply chain can feed steel mills in West Virginia, support shipbuilding in Texas, and wind turbine manufacturing in both inland areas and on the coasts.