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Vineyard Wind powers up in bright spot for beleaguered offshore wind

Animated illustration of a wind turbine symbol with rotating opacity on six blades, animated to resemble a circular computer loading icon

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Five wind turbines off the Massachusetts coast have started delivering emissions-free power to the state, developers Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners announced yesterday.

Why it matters: The development marks a crucial milestone for the first large offshore wind project in the U.S.

Vineyard Wind 1 is delivering 68 MW of electricity to the New England grid, roughly equivalent what's needed to power 30,000 homes and businesses.

  • The project will ultimately span 62 turbines generating 806 MW, or about enough for 400,000 energy consumers in Massachusetts.
  • Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners have said construction will cost $4 billion.
  • Last fall they closed a $1.2 billion tax equity deal with J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, which the developers called a first for a U.S. commercial-scale offshore wind project.

Context: Offshore wind projects promise to be an enormous source of clean electricity along the U.S. east and west coasts. But projects have struggled to surmount rising construction and material costs, as well as serious manufacturing problems.

  • Avangrid last year canceled contracts related to its Park City Wind and Commonwealth Wind projects off Connecticut and Massachusetts after years of development, citing financial challenges.

What's next: Vineyard Wind's crews are preparing to transport an 11th turbine to the site, about 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

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