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America’s first major offshore wind farm installs first turbine

This image, from June 2023, shows blades for the Haliade-X turbine in New Bedford, MA.

David L. Ryan | Boston Globe | Getty Images

A project to develop a facility described as the United States’ “first commercial-scale offshore wind project” continues to move forward after its first turbine was installed in waters off Martha’s Vineyard.

In an announcement Wednesday, Avangrid — which is part of the Iberdrola Group — and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners said the Vineyard Wind 1 project would eventually have more than 60 turbines. It’s hoped that it will start delivering its first power this year.

“The project will consist of 62 wind turbines to generate 806 Megawatts, enough to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts,” Wednesday’s announcement said.

Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra described the news as “a monumental achievement and a proud day for offshore wind in the United States,” adding that there was “important work ahead” to install the project’s remaining turbines.

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Vineyard Wind 1 is using 13 megawatt versions of GE Vernova’s huge Haliade-X turbines, which can reach heights of up to 260 meters and have blades measuring 107 meters.

Ground was broken on Vineyard Wind 1 in Nov. 2021, and offshore construction commenced toward the end of 2022.

“Having the first offshore wind turbine in the water for the first commercial offshore wind farm in the US is an important symbolic milestone for our company, our customers, and our industry,” Jan Kjaersgaard, the CEO of GE Vernova Offshore Wind, said in a statement.

While the U.S. is home to a well-developed onshore wind industry, the country’s first offshore wind facility, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, only started commercial operations in late 2016. A range of factors have created an often challenging environment for the sector’s development in the U.S.

Across the Atlantic, Europe’s offshore wind sector is far more mature than the United States’ — earlier this month, a project dubbed the “world’s largest offshore wind farm” produced its first power.

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