skip to Main Content
MSJ NEWS see latest news

Environmental Review Completion Marks Progress Towards First Commercial Scale Offshore Wind Farm

  • Interior Department agency completes environmental review for Vineyard Wind I project
  • Proposed offshore facility would be the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the United States
  • Approval of the project, slated to go into operation in 2023, could come as early as next month

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has completed an environmental review for the Vineyard Wind I project, marking progress in what could be the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the United States.

BOEM, an agency within the Department of the Interior, has released its four-volume findings and will publish a notice of the report’s availability in the Federal Register later this week. As early as next month, the agency could issue a decision on whether Vineyard Wind should be approved, disapproved, or approved with modifications.

The 800-megawatt project would be located 12 nautical miles off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and generate enough electricity to power 400,000 New England homes. The project is a joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewable.

The installation would be farther offshore than Cape Wind, a 468-megawatt project proposed for the region in 2001 that ultimately faltered under significant opposition. Vineyard Wind would also use larger, more advanced turbines to reduce the overall number of turbines in the project. Although the construction plan calls for up to 106 turbines, the preferred plan calls for up to 84 turbines and the number will likely be reduced to 62 after the project opted to use GE’s massive Haliade-X turbines for the project.

Developers temporarily withdrew their application late in 2020 to forestall the possibility that the Trump administration might reject the project, but resubmitted it after President Joe Biden took office in January. While the Trump administration frequently criticized wind developments, Biden has voiced support for them as part of a longer-term goal to decarbonize U.S. power production and energy consumption.

Although there are several offshore wind farms in planning or development in the United States, the nation currently has only two installations in American waters. These include a 30-megawatt, five-turbine wind farm off Block Island and a pilot project off Virginia featuring two turbines with a 12-megawatt capacity.

Supporters of renewable energy have cheered the Vineyard Wind progress and see it as potentially signaling a major expansion in offshore wind. However, the projects have also raised concerns among commercial fishing groups who expect that they will inhibit their operations. The Vineyard Wind project’s preferred alternative would situate turbines at least one nautical mile apart to allow easier transit for fishing vessels.

Spread the Word

More To Explore

Expert Summaries

Know Your Competitors

By Denis Jakuc 

There are tons of benefits to knowing who your competitors are—what they’re offering, their strengths and weaknesses. That knowledge can help you make your products and services stand out,

Latest News

Join with Free InnovatorsLINK Account

Start accessing all the free member benefits and valuable content on the InnovatorsLINK platform. Create a BizLINK listing to boost brand exposure, receive the weekly Main Street Journal newsletter, engage in forums, get full access to free content, and more.