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Feds Approve Another Offshore Wind Farm Southwest Of Nantucket

The construction of Vineyard Wind's first turbine, located approximately 15 miles southwest of Nantucket, pictured here in October 2023..

Posted on April 8, 2024

One of the offshore wind developers vying to supply power to Massachusetts and/or southern New England secured a key federal approval Tuesday morning, becoming the eighth commercial-scale offshore wind farm to be approved under President Joe Biden and boosting the country above 10 gigawatts of approved offshore wind power.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved the “record of decision” for Avangrid’s New England Wind, which represents two projects – a 791 megawatt New England Wind 1 project and a 1,080 MW New England Wind 2 project. The energy giant last week submitted bids for New England Wind 1 and the combination of New England Wind 1 and 2 to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the three-state joint solicitation. The record of decision is the primary federal approval needed for the project to move ahead. Both projects will be located southwest of Nantucket.

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Avangrid, which is also behind the operational Vineyard Wind 1 project, said last week that its New England Wind proposals are “among the most mature offshore wind opportunities in the nation,” and that the New England Wind 1 project in particular “offers extraordinary certainty and viability” and could be operational in 2029.

“With this federal approval, New England Wind stands apart as the most advanced and shovel-ready offshore wind opportunity in the Northeast region,” Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra said Tuesday. “We are grateful to our many supporters and stakeholders that participated in the federal permitting process, and look forward to continued engagement as we work to bring thousands of well-paying jobs and clean, reliable power to New England.”

The Nantucket-based group ACK For Whales, which opposes the development of offshore wind projects due to the alleged impacts on the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale and the impacts on Nantucket as a National Historic Landmark, blasted the decision in an email on Thursday.

“This is a bad deal for endangered whales and a bad deal for Nantucket,” the group stated. “The additional turbines will be built. in the only year-round North Atlantic Right Whale habitat. The construction noise will now continue for several years, imperiling this critically endangered species. These turbines will be 1,171 feet tall, almost 40 percent taller than the current Vineyard Wind turbines. Staff and elected officials for the Town of Nantucket made no public objections to the project size or location.”

The combined New England Wind 1 and 2 project would generate 1,870 MW for New England, enough to power almost 1 million homes and reduce emissions by roughly the equivalent of taking 700,000 cars off the road annually. Avangrid said its combined project would create as many as 9,200 full-time equivalent jobs and bring $8 billion in direct investment to New England.


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