One of the goals announced by the Biden administration has been to fight climate change and produce 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. Recently, a large-scale project called ‘Vineyard Wind’, to be built off the coast of Massachusetts, has been given its final approval to become The United States’ first commercial scale offshore wind farm.
A Cleaner Energy Alternative
This idea of a large-scale offshore wind farm is not a new one; it was conceived about 20 years ago, but kept on being opposed and delayed and was ultimately cancelled by the Trump administration. After Biden took the presidential seat, he revived the project in March this year as a part of his plans to control climate change and save the environment.
The project, which is a joint venture of the energy firms Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, is meant to build 84 wind turbines about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha Vineyard. According to the New York Times, this $2.8 billion project, Vineyard Wind, would be able to produce 800 megawatts of electricity, which will be enough to power 400,000 homes!
The benefit of this wind farm would be that since it is a renewable source, it will produce clean energy and eliminate a good amount of carbon emissions which are a consequence of burning fossil fuels for energy.
A New Era of Wind Projects-More Jobs?
The approval of Vineyard Wind has opened doors to multiple other wind farm projects, to be taken into consideration. In fact, two small scale wind farms are already operational in the USA, off the coasts of Virginia and Rhode Island. Yet, they produce only 42 megawatts of electricity combined; compared to this, Vineyard Wind is set to produce 800 megawatts of power. The Interior Department is positive that following the expected success of this project, there could be about 2000 more turbines generating wind energy from the coasts of Massachusetts to North Carolina.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland also stated that this new era of wind farm projects will create economic opportunities, “union jobs”, for Americans. But not everyone is as excited about this idea. For one thing, economists are concerned about the promised jobs related to this project, since most of the manufacturing business for these turbines takes place in Europe. But the administration is positive that companies will soon start manufacturing turbines locally as well, and together, the project will create an estimated 3,600 jobs.
The fishing industry has also put forward some concerns, especially the fact that fishermen would have difficulty navigating and catching fish near the areas where the turbines are to be built, with the largest turbine reported to be as large as two football fields. Anne Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance also expressed her distress by stating that the authorities seem to be more interested in “multinational businesses and energy politics than our environment, domestic food sources, or U.S. citizens.”
Nevertheless, the project is expected to begin this summer and become The United States’ first commercial level offshore wind farm, with the prospects of more to follow.