Published On: Fri, Nov 15th, 2019

Vineyard Wind offshore wind project in US

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The 800MW Vineyard Wind offshore project, offshore Massachusetts, is set to become the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US, as the country opens up its waters for wind power generation. Business-News-Today brings you a detailed profile of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project here.

Vineyard Wind offshore project owners

The project is being developed by holding company called Vineyard Wind, which is a 50:50 partnership between funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Avangrid Renewables.

Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola entered into the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project in May 2017 by acquiring a 50% stake through its subsidiary Avangrid Renewables.

In December 2018, Vineyard Wind was granted rights to rent and exploit a new 132,370-acre area of the federal waters of the US for $135.1 million for its offshore wind project. A total of 74% of this amount will be financed by Avangrid Renewables, despite the fact that the project developer, CIP, owns a 50% stake.

How the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project will propel the US offshore wind capacity

Despite being a superpower, the US still remains a laggard compared to its European counterparts when it comes to offshore wind power generation.

Currently, the 30MW Block Island Wind Farm owned by Deepwater Wind and located off the coast of Rhode Island is the only commercial offshore wind farm in operation in the US, having gone online in 2016.

The UK and Germany are the two biggest offshore wind producers in the world, with capacities of 20GW and 17GW, respectively. While the total installed renewable energy capacity of the US was 244GW at the end of 2018, its offshore wind power capacity was just 102MW.

So the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project is seen as a big step ahead in exploiting the vast potential for offshore wind power in the US territorial waters. In a recent report, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said that the US is estimated to take its installed offshore wind capacity to 2GW by 2025, as the first large-scale US offshore wind projects are expected to become online between 2021 and 2023.

Location of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project

To be built 22.5km  off the coast of Massachusetts, the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project will be able to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses across the state of Massachusetts.  The Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm is also expected to offset carbon emissions to the tune of 1.6 million tons annually.

The first-ever utility-scale US offshore wind project is expected to make a valuable contribution to Massachusetts’ target of installing 3.2GW of offshore wind capacity for the Commonwealth by 2035. The targeted wind power could be able to meet over 20% of the electricity consumed in the state.

The Vineyard Wind offshore project will come up on a leased area spanning 160,000 acres, south of Martha’s Vineyard. A multi-year, inter-governmental task force process that examined scientific data and public input was carried out to select the location for the Vineyard Wind project.

The US offshore wind project will be equipped with 84 wind turbines, installed at least eight-tenths of a mile apart. Each of the offshore wind turbines will be capable of generating 9.5MW of power.

Turbine contract for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project

In November 2018, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind was named as the preferred supplier of turbines for the offshore wind project in Massachusetts. Under the contract, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will deliver its V164-9.5 MW turbines with installation scheduled for 2021.

Vineyard Wind offshore wind project V164-9.5 MW turbines MHI Vestas Offshore Wind

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will supply its V164-9.5 MW turbines for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project. Photo courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind.

An offshore substation will be installed to collect the power generated by the turbines of the Vineyard Wind offshore project. Submarine cables, which will be placed up to six feet below the seafloor, will be installed to transfer the power generated by the US offshore wind farm to an onshore landing point. The power transfer route will then extend from cable landing site to the grid connection point inland, running underground mainly along public roads.

Vineyard Wind offshore project – Submarine Cable Contract

In May 2019, Vineyard Wind entered into an agreement with Italian company Prysmian Group worth over $220 million for the design, manufacturing, installation, and commissioning of the submarine cabling system that will connect the offshore wind farm with the Continental US power transmission grid. The contract entails laying a total of 134 kilometers of high-voltage alternating current electricity cable.

In June 2019, Spanish wind tower manufacturer Windar Renovables was selected in an international tendering process to deliver the foundations of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project. Under the contract worth around €100 million, it will manufacture, certify, assemble, inspect, store and supply the elements for the foundations.

Vineyard Wind offshore wind project construction details and commissioning date

As per the plans, the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project is due to break ground in 2019 with a commissioning date in 2021. However, the US offshore wind project is facing an indefinite delay due to pending environmental approval from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Whenever the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm becomes operational, it will provide $3.7 billion in energy-related cost savings to the New England region.

PPAs of Vineyard Wind offshore wind project

The Vineyard Wind offshore wind project is backed by long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with electricity distribution companies in Massachusetts.

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