One down, 61 to go.
The Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners joint venture announced Wednesday that the installation of the first of 62 turbine generators that will make up the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind project has been completed about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, but project officials also backed off of a prior pledge that the project’s first power would begin flowing onto the grid this month.
The completed turbine setup includes the tower, three blades, and one nacelle, the housing that contains a GE Haliade-X turbine. Fully assembled, it is “the largest turbine in the western world, with a nameplate capacity of 13 Megawatts, capable of providing power to more than 6,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts,” the company’s said.
“This is a monumental achievement and a proud day for offshore wind in the United States that proves this industry is real and demonstrates Avangrid’s steadfast commitment to helping the Northeast region meet its clean energy and climate goals,” Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra said. “While this is a landmark for this first-in-the-nation project and the industry, we remain focused on the important work ahead to continue the successful installation campaign of these massive turbines and deliver the first power to Massachusetts homes and businesses this year.”
In the joint announcement of the first turbine being completed, the only reference to power beginning to flow from Vineyard Wind 1 was Azagra’s mention of “this year,” a less specific timeframe than was offered by a top project official in August. An Avangrid spokesperson reiterated Wednesday that the project’s first power is expected “this year.”
Sy Oytan, Avangrid’s chief operating officer for offshore wind, said during a tour of the project’s construction that Vineyard Wind 1 would send its first power, generated by a string of six turbines for a total of about 78 MW, onto the grid by mid-October with plans to ramp the project up to between 200 and 300 MW by the end of the year and full commercial operations of 806 MW expected by mid-2024.
Once it is fully operational, Vineyard Wind 1 is projected to generate cleaner electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, produce at least 3,600 jobs, reduce costs for Massachusetts ratepayers by an estimated $1.4 billion over 20 years, and eliminate 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Vineyard Wind 1 is the only project Massachusetts has in its offshore wind pipeline, despite making significant moves to procure the cleaner energy generation since 2016. State officials have approved projects totaling 3,200 MW of capacity (Vineyard Wind is 800 MW of that), but developers behind subsequent wind farms said that shifting economic conditions made their projects no longer financially viable at the prices they previously negotiated and have secured state approval to terminate the contracts they signed.
(Copyright (c) 2023 State House News Service.