May 11, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden officials green-light nation's first big offshore wind project

Photo illustration of Joe Biden holding up a wind turbine in his fist.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration today gave final approval to Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast slated to be the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

Why it matters: While the green light for the long-proposed project was expected, it marks a key step in White House plans to help spur development of a suite of coastal projects off New York, New Jersey and other states.

Driving the news: The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind, once built, will provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses and create 3,600 jobs, according to the announcement from the Departments of Interior and Commerce.

The project, which will span dozens of turbines, is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, which is an arm of Spanish power giant Iberdrola.

The big picture: The White House is keen to advance multiple projects that are already in the pipeline and expand areas offered for development.

  • In late March administration officials set a target of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity operating in U.S. waters by 2030.
  • That would go well beyond plans already on the drawing boards among Equinor, Shell and BP, Portugal's EDP and others are involved in various partnerships for U.S. projects.

What they're saying: “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,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

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