The Biden administration has granted approval to a $2.8 billion offshore wind project that’s seen as key to a transition to renewable energy in the United States.
The Vineyard Wind project, which is set to become the nation’s first major offshore wind farm, will be built 14 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. The Biden administration hopes the project, which was selected by the state in 2018, will help slash carbon dioxide emissions while generating renewable electricity.
It will have a generating capacity of 800 megawatts, with a goal of producing enough energy to power up to 400,000 homes. Up to 84 wind turbines will be built as part of the project.
The announcement fits neatly with President Joe Biden’s broader agenda to combat global climate change by decarbonizing the nation’s economy. The president previously outlined a plan for 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.
“Today’s offshore wind project announcement demonstrates that we can fight the climate crisis, while creating high-paying jobs and strengthening our competitiveness at home and abroad,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “This project is an example of the investments we need to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious climate goals, and I’m proud to be part of the team leading the charge on offshore wind.”
While President Donald Trump had stalled Vineyard Wind’s permitting process late last year, Biden restarted the review within a month of taking office.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said approval of the project will create thousands of jobs that will support families, boost local economies, and “address climate injustice.”
“A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States,” Haaland said. “The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the Administration’s goals to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation.
“More importantly, it will create a new generation of clean energy jobs and leave a liveable planet for future generations.”
The project also faces opposition, and news of its approval was quickly condemned by the fishing industry which said its concerns about the project’s effect on fish stocks and vessel traffic had been “met with silence” by government officials.
“For the past decade, fishermen have participated in offshore wind meetings whenever they were asked and produced reasonable requests only to be met with silence,” said Anne Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing groups and businesses.
“From this silence, now emerges unilateral action and a clear indication that those in authority care more about multinational businesses and energy politics than our environment, domestic food sources, or U.S. citizens.”
Reuters contributed to this report.