Construction has begun on the Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. It could provide enough clean energy to power 400,000 homes per year
HYANNIS, Mass. — America’s first major offshore wind farm is coming into focus on the wavy horizon off Massachusetts.
An electric substation the length of a football field looms three stories above the water. Six yellow T-shaped poles protrude from the waves in a line along the ocean. They will serve as foundations for the project’s first turbines that are scheduled to be installed next week. Two massive vessels worked to complete installing a transmission cable that will bring power to the mainland.
The work, on display during a boat tour Wednesday, is a major step for Massachusetts and the Biden administration, both of which are relying on offshore wind to meet their climate goals. When it is done next year, Vineyard Wind will generate enough electricity to power 400,000 homes while reducing the amount of carbon emissions from 320,000 cars a year.
The construction comes at a time when offshore wind projects in the United States face growing questions related to soaring costs from rising interest rates and supply chain constraints.
“I think it’s important to show folks that it’s real,” said Kim Harriman, vice president of state government relations and public affairs at Avangrid Inc., one of two companies behind the $4 billion project. “While there’s challenges, there’s amazing opportunity.”
Reaching this point has been an American odyssey. A plan to install 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound fell apart in 2017 after almost two decades of legal battles. It has been replaced by a new wave of projects. President Joe Biden has promised to permit 16 offshore wind farms before the end of his first term next year.
Vineyard Wind is the first.
The project will see 62 turbines installed south of Martha’s Vineyard, a large increase over the seven total turbines that have been installed in U.S. waters previously.
It’s had its share of ups and downs.
Its developers won a contract to sell power to Massachusetts in 2018, then survived a near-fatal p………..