Second U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Will Generate First Power Before Year’s End

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The second, large offshore wind farm in the United States is expected to produce its first power before the end of the year as momentum continues to build for the industry. Developer Avangrid, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, reports it has installed the first five wind turbines at Vineyard Wind 1, a project located south of Martha’s Vineyard, and is set to begin supplying power to Massachusetts.

Before generating first power, Avangrid reports it must complete several critical tests and technical milestones, including final testing of the array and export cables, and energization of the offshore substation. However, the first five GE Haliade-X turbines have been installed at the project as work construction continues. Once energized in the coming weeks, Vineyard Wind 1, will deliver approximately 65 MW of energy from the five turbines, enough to power 30,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts. The company expects it will happen within the next three weeks, before the end of 2023.

“We have fully installed the first five turbines of this historic project, representing a new frontier for climate action and the clean energy revolution in the United States,” said Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra. “We look forward to working through the final technical requirements and flipping the switch to deliver these first green electrons to 30,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts.”

Vineyard Wind 1 will become the second wind farm in the United States to begin generating power this month. South Fork Wind, a project being developed by Ørsted and Eversource located approximately 35 miles offshore from Montauk, New York, energized its first turbine on December 6. While consisting of only 12 turbines to provide approximately 130 MW, South Fork is considered to be the first commercial-scale wind farm in the United States.

Vineyard Wind located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, however, is a much larger project. When installation is completed in 2024 it will consist of 62 wind turbines able to generate up to 806 MW, which will be enough to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses. Power will come ashore and be transmitted by underground cables to a substation on Cape Cod near Banstable.
Offshore construction for Vineyard Wind began in late 2022. Materials are being staged at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal with Foss Maritime, a U.S. service contractor operating specially designed US-flagged barges to transport the components to the lease area. The loads, which consist of tower sections reaching more than 200 feet in height, 321-foot-long blades, and the nacelle pods, each weigh more than 1,700 tons. DEME Group’s Sea Installer vessel is stationed at the site receiving the components and completing the installations.

The project achieved steel-in-the-water in June and completed the installation of its offshore substation in July. The first GE Haliade-X Wind Turbine Generator, which at 13 MW is among the largest turbines in the western world, was installed in mid-October.

Other U.S. projects are also moving toward the construction phase. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management granted permissions to Ørsted and Eversource’s next project Revolution Wind, which will provide power to Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well as to Dominion Energy’s wind farm to be located off Virginia Beach, Virginia. The U.S. Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council yesterday, December 7, also granted approval for Revolution Wind’s construction. 

Addressing the financial and supply chain challenges that emerged for the industry, several Northeast states have announced plans to revise and accelerate their programs. Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts are coordinating their next round of solicitations planned for 2024, while both New York and New Jersey sped up their timetables launching solicitations for the first quarter of 2024.

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