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UPDATE 1-U.S. approves first major offshore wind farm off Massachusetts coast

05/11/2021 11:15
UPDATE 1-U.S. approves first major offshore wind farm off Massachusetts coast

Adds details from U.S. government announcement, background

- The Biden administration on Tuesday said it would approve the nation's first major offshore wind farm, a critical milestone in its goal to launch a new domestic energy industry and eliminate emissions from the power sector.

The Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts will create enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in New England, the administration said in a statement.

It will also create 3,600 jobs, delivering on U.S. President Joe Biden's promise that fighting climate change by expanding clean energy sources will boost employment, it said.

The approval is a major win for Vineyard Wind's joint project owners Avangrid Inc AGR.N and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. The project began its federal permitting process more than three years ago and endured a string of delays in part due to concerns that the wind turbines would interfere with commercial fishing.

"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," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

Last month, the Biden administration unveiled a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 by opening new areas to development, accelerating permits and boosting public financing for projects.

Vineyard Wind's 800 megawatts would account for less than 3% of the administration's 2030 target, though there are more than 20 GW of proposed projects in earlier stages of development.

The United States, with just two small offshore wind facilities, has lagged European nations in developing the renewable energy technology.

The administration of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had vowed to support offshore wind as a promising new industry but failed to permit any projects.

Vineyard Wind's will be built 14 miles southeast of Martha's Vineyard. It is expected to begin construction this year and be completed in 2024. The project will install up to 84 of General Electric's Haliade-X turbines, the world's most powerful.


(Reporting by Nichola Groom and Susan Heavey; editing by John Stonestreet and Chizu Nomiyama)

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