Vineyard Wind 1, the Largest Offshore Wind Farm in the USA

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Oct 2023:  The first wind turbine installed at Vineyard Wind 1

The first of the 62 wind turbines for Vineyard Wind 1 has been installed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. This was announced by Iberdrola’s US subsidiary Avangrid and its partner Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

The GE Haliade-X wind turbine has a power-generating capacity of 13MW and can power more than 6,000 homes and businesses. Comprising one tower, three blades, and one nacelle, the turbine is currently the largest to be installed in the Western world.

Noteworthy, Vineyard Wind 1 began offshore construction in late 2022. It achieved steel-in-the-water in June 2023 and completed the first offshore substation in the US in July 2023.

Vineyard Wind 1 Project Overview

Vineyard Wind 1 is an offshore wind farm under construction approximately 24 kilometres off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The project is reportedly the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the US to achieve financial close. Furthermore, at US$ 2.3bn the project also represents one of the largest investments in a single renewable energy project in the country.

The wind farm features a total of 62 GE Haliade wind turbines with a nameplate capacity of 804 MW. Once fully operational, it will generate enough electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Vineyard Wind 1 project is being built by Vineyard Wind LLC. The latter is a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).  GE Wind, a subsidiary of GE Offshore Wind, a unit of GE Renewable Energy based in Europe will supply the turbines. Windar Renovables on the other hand will build the farm’s foundations while Prysmian Group will carry out cabling works.

The cable will run undersea for approximately 55 kilometres from the southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard to Covell’s Beach in Centerville, Barnstable, and Cape Cod. From here it will connect, via land, to the electrical grid through ISO New England.

Vineyard Wind 1 Project Timeline 

May 2021

US largest offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind 1, given final green light

The largest offshore wind farm in the US has been given the final green light for construction. The “Vineyard Wind” farm is projected to have 84 wind turbines constructed 20 kilometres off the coast of Massachusetts. Once completed, the farm is expected to supply 2% of the nation’s goal of 30 GW from offshore wind farms by 2030. The project is going to be able to power 400,000 homes and businesses with renewable energy.

The 800 MW project will be the third offshore wind project to be built by the country after the 30 MW Block Island Windfarm. There is, however, a shortfall in infrastructure to produce turbines and blades for the wind farm. Transport infrastructure needed to relocate them to the offshore sites is also wanting and these issues could be due to the country’s lack of experience in offshore wind construction, nonetheless, the Vineyard Wind site is expected to serve as a catalyst to bring about more infrastructure and boost America’s steel and shipbuilding sectors.

Also Read: South Korea Signs Contracts for World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

The nation’s president, Joe Biden, has set high goals; cutting US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 in comparison to 2005 levels. That would require such a project to be completed on time in order to meet the demands of his administration. “We do feel a responsibility to get it right,” said the vice president of offshore wind at Avangrid Renewables, Bill White.

One of the biggest challenges is connecting export cables from the wind farm to power stations in a manner that will not cause interference with coastal communities. The previously stated Block Island Wind Farm, launched in 2016, has run into several hurdles after an undersea cable became uncovered. Reburying the cable at sea has proven complicated and set off a controversy over the cost to consumers.

“I don’t think it is a secret that the previous administration was focused on advancing fossil fuels and not renewable energy projects. Whether it was intentional or not, there was a stagnation of the process,” said White. “The Biden administration has convened an all-of-government approach to offshore wind, which we’ve never seen before.”

Aug 2022

Pre-lay multibeam survey operation for Vineyard Wind 1 begins

A pre-lay multibeam survey operation along the export cable route for the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind farm has begun. The operations are being carried out by the research vessel Shearwater in the Nantucket Sound. The research vessel is back in the offshore wind farm’s export cable corridor after completing vibracore acquisition operations at 31 locations within the corridor in the autumn of last year.

Shearwater is in the company of the fishing vessels Chicawa and Rock & Roll. The two vessels will be scouting during the operation, which will take two weeks or its thereabouts to be complete. The timeframe will reportedly be determined by the region’s weather conditions.

A noteworthy, unexploded ordnance (UXO) survey was recently completed at the Vineyard Wind Lease Area and along the Offshore Export Cable Route. The aforementioned was completed through Nantucket Sound using the MPSV HOS Mystique.

Sep 2023

Cable-laying work at Vineyard Wind, the largest offshore wind farm in the USA is set to begin

Starting with array cable lines five and six, the work will be carried by Jan De Nul’s vessel Isaac Newton. The C-PIONEER will act as a stationary support vessel, supporting cable-pulling activities for the inter-array cables. On the other hand, the trenching support vessel ADHEMAR DE SAINT-VENANT will be performing cable trenching and burial works.

Lastly, F/V SEAFARER will be the safety vessel monitoring traffic and facilitating the safe movement of fishing vessels, recreational craft, or other transiting vessels around the work sites and project vessels.

Under this phase of the project, approximately 210 kilometres of 66 kV cables will be delivered. The cables will connect the Vineyard Wind 62 GE Haliade-X turbines and transfer electricity to an offshore substation for transmission to the grid. From the offshore substation, the electricity will be transported to shore via an export cable to be supplied by Prysmian.