Construction Starts on First Large-Scale US Offshore Wind Farm

Vineyard Wind has broken ground for its 806 MW Vineyard Wind 1 project in Barnstable, Massachusetts, setting the US on a road to its first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, which is also the first such project in the Americas region.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on 18 November at Covell’s Beach, where the offshore wind farm will connect to the national grid on land, with the US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, and Representative Bill Keating joining the team behind the project to celebrate the start of construction.

The first phase of construction works will include laying two transmission cables that will connect Vineyard Wind 1 to the mainland. Offshore work is scheduled to commence next year with the installation of foundations and cables, followed by wind turbines.

Last month, Italy’s Prysmian Group received the Notice to Proceed with its contract to supply a submarine power cable system for Vineyard Wind 1, which requires a total of 134 kilometres of power cables. Prysmian will produce the cables at its factories in Finland and Italy, and install them using its cable laying vessels Cable Enterprise and Ulisse.

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According to earlier information about the project, Linxon will construct a 220/115kV onshore substation that will connect the wind farm to the New England power grid.

The wind farm, located 15 miles (some 24 kilometres) off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, will feature 62 Haliade-X 13 MW turbines and is expected to deliver its first power to the grid in 2023, with full commissioning scheduled for the fourth quarter of the year.

“Utility scale offshore wind projects like the one breaking ground today are a hallmark of the infrastructure revolution underway under the Biden-Harris administration, including with the President’s signing this week of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) stated in a press release.

As reported this week, the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by the US President Joe Biden on 15 November, will help expedite some of the infrastructure upgrades to ports and electrical grid needed to spur the creation of a national offshore wind industry, according to David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America.

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind farm in July. Two months later, the developer Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), reached financial close on the project and moved it into the construction phase.

Vineyard Wind 1 is the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the US to achieve financial close and, at USD 2.3 billion, represents one of the largest investments in a single renewable energy projects in the US.

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DEME Offshore’s US arm was contracted to install both the foundations and the wind turbines.

As the contractor for the foundation installation, DEME will handle the transportation and installation of the monopile foundations, transition pieces, and scour protection for the wind turbine foundations, and will also transport and install the offshore electrical substation foundation and platform.

For the wind turbine installation, DEME Offshore US will team up with FOSS Maritime Company, a US maritime service contractor, which will provide skilled personnel and Jones Act compliant feeder vessels for the 62 GE Haliade-X units to be transported from the port of New Bedford to DEME’s installation jack-up vessel.

Jan De Nul and the TFKable Group-owned JDR will deliver almost 210 kilometres of 66 kV inter-array cables that will connect the project’s 62 turbines and transfer electricity to an offshore substation for transmission to the grid.

Photo: Vineyard Wind