Washington (AP) – A huge wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts is approaching federal approval, creating what the Biden administration hopes will be a model for the rapid growth of offshore wind energy along the East Coast.
The Vineyard Wind project, south of Martha’s Vineyard near Cape Cod, would generate 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400,000 homes in New England. If approved, the $ 2 billion project would be the first-ever development of wind energy in federal waters. A smaller wind farm operates near Block Island in waters under the control of Rhode Island.
The Vineyard Wind is significantly further offshore than the Cape Wind, a former Massachusetts offshore wind project that failed miserably against the backdrop of opposition from Kennedy’s businessman and William Koch.
Proponents say the Vineyard Wind, located about 15 miles offshore, is better located than Cape Wind և using high-tech technology with larger and larger turbine blades. Under the preferred alternative, the project’s giant turbines will be located at least 1 nautical mile away, allowing fishing vessels to move more easily through the blades.
The Interior Ministry announced on Monday that it had completed an environmental analysis of Vineyard Wind and that a decision on approving the project would be made next month.
President Biden has pledged to double offshore wind production by 2030 as part of his administration’s efforts to slow climate change. Vineyard Wind, one of two dozen offshore projects along the East Coast, has been approved at various stages of development, marking a sharp turn from the Trump administration, which has hidden wind energy both offshore and in the ocean.
When President Donald Trump often ridiculed wind energy as a means of slaughtering expensive birds to generate electricity, his administration resisted or opposed wind projects, including the Vineyard Wind.
The developer temporarily withdrew his application late last year in an attempt to prevent a possible rejection by the Trump administration. In January, Biden reopened the project for the project.
“The United States is ready to become a world leader in clean energy,” said Laura Daniel Davis, a senior State Department official.
Launched in 2023, the Vineyard Wind is one of the first offshore wind projects to help the nation “fight climate change, improve sustainability through sustainable energy, boost economic development to create well-paying jobs”. Director of the Ocean Energy Management Bureau.
“The Biden administration is pushing the wind in the sails of this important new industry,” said Sen. Ed Markin, long-time supporter of the D-Mass. Vineyard Wind project. “Responsible wind development in our coastal areas will strengthen the economy, provide affordable electricity, and lead us to a safer climate future,” said Markin.
Despite the enthusiasm, the development of offshore winds is still in its infancy in the United States, far behind the progress made by European countries. In addition to the Block Island project, there is a small wind farm off the coast of Virginia.
Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said in a statement that the company “looks forward to the final step in the federal approval process and will be able to launch an industry that has such tremendous potential for economic development in the communities of the East Coast.”
The renewable energy industry believes that the Biden administration has a huge opportunity for growth, especially in accelerating the offshore wind projects that the industry has long sought.
“The offshore industry is on the verge of extinction,” said Amy Farrell, senior vice president of the American Clean Energy Association. The group plans to build 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy over the next decade.
Windmills are ready to create tens of thousands of jobs – more than $ 100 billion in new investment by 2030, “but the Ocean Energy Bureau must first open the door to new leasing,” said Eric Milito, president of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Industry Association, another trading group.
Not everyone enjoys the offshore wind.
Andrew Minkicic, an advocate for the Fisheries Survival Fund, which advocates for the marine crab industry, said the group feared a sharp shift in Biden’s attitude from the Trump administration.
The project seemed to be dead, or at least a vague break last year, “the new administration came in and said no, we will continue the work,” Minkic said. “If this was not a clean energy project, I think there would be an absolute uproar.”
Fishing crews from Maine, Florida, have feared that large offshore wind farms could pull huge areas of the ocean out of their prey. Although the Vineyard Wind is not located in an area suitable for crayfish fishing, other potential locations along the Atlantic coast could pose a serious threat to crayfish.
Whitley reported from Portland, Maine.