Construction begins of first U.S. high-capacity offshore wind power station
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On 17th November, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the first large-capacity offshore wind farm in the United States in the state of Massachusetts. Given the name Vineyard Wind 1, the station will be made up of 62 turbines, each with a capacity of 13 MW.

The wind farm, with an overall capacity of 800 MW, will be located 24 km off the island of Martha’s Vineyard in the southeast of the U.S. state. The turbines will be connected to an offshore substation, where the power will be transferred to two export cables and connect to the grid at an inland substation.

    Once the station comes on stream in 2023, it will produce sufficient power to meet the needs of 400,000 households. It will also reduce CO2 emissions by 1.6 million tonnes a year – equivalent to the amount of emissions produced annually by 325,000 petrol and diesel vehicles.

    The project will be operated by Vineyard Wind, a company 50 % owned by the Iberdrola group – a Spanish energy group — through AVANGRID subsidiary Avangrid Renewables – and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), a Danish investment company specialised in wind power.

    “Not many countries have the ambition to launch their first project at a scale that will power 400,000 homes and create 3,600 jobs,” said Ignacio Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola and Chairman of AVANGRID. “With 15 years of offshore wind leadership, Iberdrola and Avangrid are more than ready to help the U.S. benefit from the substantial opportunities of offshore wind including economic investment and job creation.”

    By the end of 2020, installed capacity of offshore wind farms totalled 29 MW, according to figures from the International Renewal Energy Agency (IRENA). The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden intends to bring that figure to 30 GW by 2030.

    By way of comparison, according to year-end figures in 2020, world-wide installed capacity of offshore wind farms stood at 34.4 GW – considerably less than land-based wind farms (698.9 GW). Achieving a comparable level of for offshore stations does not allow for a very high-capitalisation value – according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2020, the cost of construction for an offshore station stood at $5,000 for 1 KW of capacity – three times the cost for a land-based facility ($1,390  for 1 KW of capacity).

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GE Renewable Energy has announced that it plans by 2030 to begin production of zero-waste wind turbine blades. Zero-waste production will be undertaken by the company’s affiliate, LM Wind Power, by overseeing purchases of necessary materials and pledging to “reuse, repurpose, recycle or recover all the excess materials from manufacturing of blades, giving up on landfilling and incineration as waste management solutions”.

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