With 2019 Site Construction Start, Vineyard Wind Poised to Become State’s First Offshore Wind Farm

PROPOSED WIND ENERGY PROJECT ENTERS COMMONWEALTH’S CLEAN ENERGY SOLICITATION PROCESS; SIMULTANEOUSLY SUBMITS STATE AND FEDERAL PERMIT APPLICATIONS TO ACCELERATE DEVELOPMENT

Vineyard Wind today submitted a proposal to construct a large, utility-scale wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts, with site construction to begin in 2019. Vineyard Wind’s accelerated timeline positions the project to become the first commercial large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, which will soon deliver significant economic development and clean energy benefits to residents and businesses in the Commonwealth.

“Vineyard Wind is confident that its proposal to start building Massachusetts’ first offshore wind project in 2019 is the right approach for local residents and businesses eager to reap the abundant environmental and economic benefits that are associated with large-scale renewable and sustainable wind energy,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer of Vineyard Wind. 

Prior to filing its proposal for the Massachusetts Clean Energy 83C solicitation process, Vineyard Wind became the first of several competing projects to apply for federal and state construction permits. Vineyard Wind recently submitted applications with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ Energy Facilities Siting Board to construct an 800MW wind farm approximately 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, which will generate enough electricity to power over 400,000 homes.

By filing for construction permits, Vineyard Wind is on track to complete the permitting process in time to begin construction in 2019.

Avangrid Renewables, one of the nation’s largest wind developers, is a co-owner of the Vineyard Wind project. Avangrid Renewables acquired a 50 percent ownership interest in Vineyard Wind, which is part of the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) portfolio.

“Today marks a historic day for the future offshore renewable energy industry in Massachusetts and Vineyard Wind is the one project poised to quickly deliver clean wind power resources to cities and towns across the state,” said Laura Beane, Avangrid Renewables’ CEO. “We’ve enjoyed helping revitalize and grow rural America by bringing jobs and economic development dollars into local communities through our onshore renewable energy projects. With this large-scale offshore project, we look forward to pouring valuable economic development dollars into multiple sectors of the Massachusetts economy and putting people to work immediately.”

“The Clean Energy bid submission in tandem with the state and federal permit filings bring Vineyard Wind one step closer toward building Massachusetts’ first offshore wind project, a facility that will serve as an accelerator for the local clean energy economy and green tech workforce,” said Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind.

Vineyard Wind offers distinct benefits for Massachusetts and the renewable energy sector:

  • Vineyard Wind will put hundreds of Massachusetts’ residents to work now and in the future through its “Windward Workforce” program
  • Vineyard Wind is projected to become the United States’ first large scale offshore wind and will establish a new benchmark for offshore wind pricing through the use of proven technology and existing state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Vineyard Wind will immediately boost development of the supply chain sector through its Massachusetts offshore wind accelerator program, an initiative designed to kickstart local participation in one of the world’s fast-growing industries

Following passage of An Act to Promote Energy Diversity in 2016, Massachusetts required the state’s electric distribution companies to procure 1,600 megawatts (MW) of clean, offshore wind energy within the next decade, resulting in robust interest by developers to participate in the procurement process for long-term offshore wind contracts. The addition of 1,600 MW of low-carbon wind generation capacity will provide enough clean, homegrown energy to power the equivalent of more than 750,000 Massachusetts homes every year. 

Avangrid Renewables is a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE:AGR).  Iberdrola S.A.  (Madrid: IBE) is a worldwide leader in the energy industry with significant offshore wind holdings in Europe and owns 81.5% of the outstanding shares of AVANGRID common stock. The partnership of the two companies brought extensive offshore wind expertise and substantial financial firepower to the Commonwealth’s initiative to build offshore wind projects in Massachusetts.  

Iberdrola holds offshore wind projects under development or construction in England, Germany and France.  Avangrid Renewables recently won its first offshore wind lease auction in the US off the coast of North Carolina. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners is providing investment and management for projects under construction in Germany and Scotland.  Executives with extensive offshore wind experience from these European projects will now be joining Vineyard Wind’s local development team, based in New Bedford, Mass.

CIP and its executives have developed or invested in some of the biggest offshore wind projects in the world, including the 402 MW Veja Mate project off of Germany and the 588 MW Beatrice project off the coast of Scotland. CIP manages more than $4 billion in assets. It acquired Vineyard Wind in August 2016.

In the years leading up to the permit and proposal submissions, Vineyard Wind worked hard to establish long-term relationships and partnerships with the local communities nearby the project. Three companies to date have acquired lease rights to build projects off the Massachusetts coast, including Vineyard Wind.

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Rebecca Rutenberg