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World NewsConstruction starts at America's first major offshore wind farm

Construction starts at America’s first major offshore wind farm

This {photograph}, taken on June 13, 2017, exhibits the Block Island Wind Farm, Rhode Island.

David L. Ryan | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Ground has been damaged on a venture dubbed the United States’ “first commercial scale offshore wind farm.”

The development’s kickoff, which happened on Thursday, represents one other step ahead for America’s fledgling offshore wind sector. Located in waters 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard, close to Cape Cod in Massachusetts, it is hoped that the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind 1 facility will begin sending energy to the grid in 2023.

Vineyard Wind 1 is being constructed by Vineyard Wind LLC, a 50-50 three way partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables. The latter is a subsidiary of Avangrid, which is 81.5% owned by Iberdrola, a major utility headquartered in Spain.

According to Vineyard Wind, Covell’s Beach in Barnstable is “the site where two cables will make landfall and connect to the grid at a substation further inland on Cape Cod.” The wind farm will use 62 of General Electric’s large Haliade-X generators, producing electrical energy for over 400,000 properties and companies in Massachusetts, it says.

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The venture is anticipated to chop carbon emissions by over 1.6 million metric tons yearly. This represents the equal of eradicating 325,000 vehicles off the street yearly, Vineyard Wind mentioned.

“The US offshore wind industry holds tremendous promise for both job creation and reducing carbon pollution, and today’s ground breaking, while historic, is just the first of many steps the industry will take as it grows,” Christian T. Skakkebæk, who’s senior companion and co-founder of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, mentioned.  

“CIP is excited to be a part of this first project, and we look forward to continuing to invest in and build out the offshore wind industry in the United States,” Skakkebæk mentioned.

Elsewhere, Kathleen Theoharides, Massachusetts’ Energy and Environmental Affairs secretary, mentioned that “the start of onshore construction for the Vineyard Wind project marks the beginning of a historic new chapter for this industry in the United States.”  

While the U.S. is house to a well-developed onshore wind business, the nation’s first offshore wind facility, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, solely began business operations in late 2016.

In March 2021, the Departments of Energy, Interior and Commerce mentioned they needed to roll out 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by the 12 months 2030, a transfer it is hoped will generate 1000’s of jobs and unlock billions of {dollars} in funding.

Despite these plans, the U.S. nonetheless has an extended method to go earlier than it catches up with extra mature offshore wind markets such because the one present in Europe.

Last 12 months, the sector there attracted 26.3 billion euros (round $29.7 billion) of financing for brand new offshore wind initiatives, in response to figures from WindEurope. In 2020, 2.9 GW of offshore wind capability was put in in Europe, the business physique says.

While the U.S. is seeking to ramp up its offshore wind capability, the problem of transferring away from fossil fuels is a large one. Just this week, the U.S. held an public sale for oil and gasoline drilling within the Gulf of Mexico.

President Joe Biden had signed an government order in January directing the Secretary of the Interior to halt new oil and pure gasoline leases on public lands and waters and to start a radical evaluation of present permits for fossil gas improvement.

But in June, a federal choose in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction to dam the administration’s suspension and ordered that plans proceed for lease gross sales that had been delayed for the Gulf and Alaska waters.

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking an appeals court docket to overturn the choose’s order. 

—CNBC’s Emma Newburger contributed to this report

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