On January 2nd, the first large offshore wind farm in New England started producing electricity when its first turbine came online. The Vineyard Wind project, located off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, will by the end of the year have a total of 62 turbines with a capacity of 800 megawatts, enough electricity to power 400,000 homes.
Power finally flowing from Vineyard Wind is an important milestone for an industry that has struggled to get going. It is the second utility-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S. to begin generating electricity. The South Fork Wind project off the coast of New York began producing power in December. That project will eventually produce 132 megawatts of electric power.
The offshore wind industry in the U.S. has faced some difficulties in recent times. A combination of rising costs, high interest rates, supply chain delays, and incidents of local opposition have created headwinds. Developers for several large planned windfarms in the northeast have terminated contracts because of inflation and high interest rates. The second phase of Empire Wind, located southeast of Long Island, has been at least temporarily shelved awaiting more favorable contract terms.
To fight climate change, many Eastern states are hoping to install dozens of large wind farms in the Atlantic that can generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. But as a result of the recent project cancellations, analysts are now projecting that U.S. offshore wind capacity in 2030 will likely be about a third less than previously predicted.
So far, the United States remains far behind Europe, which has already installed more than 32,000 megawatts of wind capacity in its waters.
Photo, posted August 31, 2022, courtesy of Nina Ali via Flickr.