Historic Milestone as First U.S. Offshore Wind Farms Deliver Electricity to the Grid

by Anna

In a historic achievement for the United States, turbines from two large offshore wind farms are now supplying electricity to the grid for the first time. The joint owners of the Vineyard Wind project, Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, announced the commencement of electricity generation from one turbine, marking a significant step for the 62-turbine wind farm located 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.

Five turbines have been installed at the Vineyard Wind site, with one already delivering about 5 megawatts of power to the Massachusetts grid just before midnight on Wednesday. The remaining four turbines are undergoing testing and are expected to be operational early this year. In a parallel milestone, Danish wind energy developer Ørsted and utility Eversource announced last month that the first turbine from their South Fork Wind project, located 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York, is also sending electricity to the grid.


Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra hailed 2023 as a historic year for offshore wind and welcomed 2024 by delivering the first clean offshore wind power to Massachusetts. The Vineyard Wind project, comprising 62 turbines, is a crucial initiative to establish offshore wind energy in the United States, proving the industry’s viability in the country.


The global push for renewable energy received a major boost last month at COP28, where nearly 200 countries pledged to move away from fossil fuels. Tripling the use of renewable energy is a key part of this commitment, with offshore wind playing a pivotal role. However, despite the optimism, the industry has faced challenges, with developers canceling projects along the East Coast due to financial feasibility concerns.


On Wednesday, Equinor and BP announced a “reset” for Empire Wind 2, a 1,260-megawatt offshore wind project off the coast of New York, acknowledging changed economic circumstances in the industry. While challenges persist, large offshore wind farms in Europe and Asia have been generating electricity for three decades, with Vineyard Wind aiming to replicate this success in the U.S.


Vineyard Wind’s journey began in 2017 when the project plans were submitted for the offshore wind farm. Despite delays, regulatory hurdles, and political opposition, the Biden administration approved the project in 2021, leading to onshore construction in Barnstable, Massachusetts. The 800-megawatt wind farm is poised to power over 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, marking a significant stride towards clean and affordable energy.

Reflecting on this achievement, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey credited the dedication of advocates, public servants, union workers, and business leaders who worked tirelessly for decades to make this milestone a reality.

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