The White House Approves the First Major Offshore Wind Farm in US

It will generate 800 megawatts of electricity and power 400,000 homes.
Fabienne Lang

The White House just took a significant step towards its promised agenda of scaling up its renewable energy production by approving the construction of the U.S.'s first major offshore wind project. 

Up to 84 wind turbines are set to be built off the coast of Massachusetts for the Vineyard Wind project. The plan is for the wind project to generate 800 megawatts of energy, enough to power 400,000 homes and businesses. 

Even though the U.S. has been slower than some other nations to boost its offshore wind projects, the Biden administration explained in its statement on May 11 that the Vineyard Wind project is just the first of many that will help bring the country to its goal of generating 30 gigawatts of energy through offshore wind by 2030. 

"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.

The offshore wind farm is a joint venture between Iberdorola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Parnters energy firms, reported The Guardian, and it will be placed 12 nautical miles off of Martha's Vineyard.

The plan as it stands is for the wind farm to start generating clean electricity by 2024, said The Guardian.

Offshore wind farms in the U.S. and elsewhere

The U.S. has 156 offshore wind farm projects, but only two are actually in operation, as 4COffshore points out. No offshore wind farm projects have progressed to a point where their turbines are connected to generate electricity, and up until yesterday, none were in the build phase, explains 4COffshore.

Given how long the U.S.'s coastline is, it's surprising to find out how little it's invested in offshore wind farms. Compare this with what's happening in Europe, where, for instance, Scotland generated enough energy in half a year in 2019 to power all of its homes twice over through wind energy. 

Across in the Irish Sea, the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm, which opened in 2018, is one of the world's most ambitious wind energy projects that aims to power up to 600,000 homes in the U.K.

So it's great to see the U.S. jumping on board to ramp up its offshore wind farm projects, and push towards a cleaner, more sustainable, energy future.

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