WASHINGTON - Through a Record of Decision (ROD), the Biden administration gave final approval for Vineyard Wind 1, an offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. This decision, which comes after years of permitting delays, gives the greenlight to what will be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the country. Experts expect this decision to spur other offshore wind developments. Vineyard Wind’s project serves as the first step toward realizing the Biden administration’s initiative to develop 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, which was announced last month. Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center has long advocated for offshore wind off the coast of the Bay State, including campaigning for Cape Wind more than a decade ago.
Offshore wind’s potential is vast. According to the Environment America Research & Policy Center’s report Offshore Wind for America, offshore wind could meet America’s 2019 electricity use almost twice over and could meet 90 percent of our projected electricity demand in 2050 even as we make the transition to run mostly on electricity rather than fossil fuels. Every coastal region has the potential to get renewable energy from offshore wind, according to the report, with Massachusetts boasting the highest offshore wind potential of any state.
Construction on Vineyard Wind 1 is expected to begin later this year, and the project will power over 400,000 homes and businesses once it becomes operational in 2023.
In response, Johanna Neumann, Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy released the following statement:
“Today’s historic decision to approve Vineyard Wind 1 is a huge step forward in America’s marathon to repower itself with clean renewable energy. Clearing this final procedural hurdle on America’s first major offshore wind project is akin to firing the starting gun -- it signals to dozens of other projects that it’s time to take off. America only has a tiny amount of installed offshore wind installed to date, but that will soon change now that Vineyard Wind is first out of the blocks.
“It’s fitting to see America’s offshore wind race begin in Massachusetts, given that the Bay State has the highest offshore wind potential of any state in the country. Today’s decision builds on Massachusetts’ status as a renewable energy leader, and gives other coastal states the confidence to boldly tap the abundant renewable energy blowing off our coast. There’s plenty of offshore wind to go around. Bold commitments and regional collaboration can position coastal states to play a key role in moving America to 100% renewable energy.
“We’ve waited a long time for his moment, and it will be crucial to keep momentum going beyond the starting blocks. We look forward to working with state and federal leaders to drive continued ambition and progress toward crossing the finish line of powering our lives with clean renewable offshore wind.”