A review by the Department of Interior approved the first commercial-sized offshore wind project on the U.S. east coast. The environmental impact statement from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) supported the construction of Vineyard Wind.
This wind project will add 800-megawatts off the Massachusetts coast. It will be capable of powering up to 400,000 homes.
Advocates of offshore wind hope that this milestone will speed up other projects planned along the Eastern Seaboard. Vineyard Wind is the first major facility to seek approval from the federal government. Supporters believe this is the reason for the repeated delays. The guidelines laid down by the BOEM could now serve as a template for the regulatory process.
“We look forward to reaching the final step in the federal permitting process and being able to launch an industry that has such tremendous potential for economic development in communities up and down the Eastern Seaboard,” commented Lars Pedersen, chief executive of Vineyard Wind.
There are currently two small offshore wind projects operating off the east coast. These have a combined capacity of 42 megawatts. The Block Island facility off Road Island has been in operation since 2016. A new 12-megawatt wind farm off the Virginia coast came online last September.
But developers plan to expand offshore wind generation over the next 15 years. As part of their green energy targets, Eastern Seaboard hopes to add 29 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2035. This includes 9,000 megawatts for New York, 7,500 megawatts for New Jersey, and 3,200 megawatts for Massachusetts.hoo