New England Wind Gets BOEM Approval as Pace Accelerates in US Offshore Wind

New England Wind Gets BOEM Approval as Pace Accelerates in US Offshore Wind

New England Wind Gets BOEM Approval as Pace Accelerates in US Offshore Wind

Article via Maritime Executive

The pace of approvals for the U.S. offshore wind sector continues to accelerate after years of review and planning. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced its second approval, this time the construction and operation plan for Avangrid’s New England Wind, in just a matter of weeks. BOEM highlights that it is working to support the development of the industry both through reviews and approvals as well as scheduling more offshore auctions.

A portion of the site was included in an April 2015 auction agreement to then Vineyard Wind. Since then, Avangrid which is part of Iberdrola, has realigned the portfolio in the wind zone off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and gained BOEM approval to assign portions of different leases including from Park City Wind to create the projects now known as New England Wind 1 and 2. The area also incorporates the former Commonwealth Wind, the project for which Avangrid canceled its power purchase agreements in 2023.  The two projects are covered by a joint Construction and Operation plan which received final approval today after a favorable Record of Decision in April.

“Building offshore wind infrastructure is a complex and unique endeavor, and rightly held to a high regulatory standard,” said Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra. “By securing all federal, state, regional, and local permits, New England Wind 1 has the potential to put shovels in the ground next year and deliver thousands of jobs, local investment, and needed clean energy before the end of the decade.”

The company highlights it has been an extensive review process, which included over 750 comments received from the public during the development and approval of the Environmental Impact Statement. With today’s approval, the project largely completes the federal, state, and local permitting process for New England 1 which will be a 791 NW project.  Avangrid reports it expects to receive its final authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service around July 22.

The final key piece before construction is a power agreement. Avangrid submitted in March multiple proposals in the combined solicitation from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut while highlighting that it was the only project in the solicitation that had all federal, state, and location permits. While they wait for the states’ decision expected next month, the project has already executed a first-of-its-kind agreement with the City of Boston to provide 15 MW of energy. It also has an agreement to provide offshore wind energy to 20 municipal electric companies in Massachusetts.

Avangrid expects to realize benefits as the project will be located to the south of Vineyard Wind 1 which has already commissioned 10 turbines in its installation process. New England Wind 1 will be roughly 30 miles south of Barnstable, Massachusetts, and 20 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The COP for the two projects includes up to 129 wine turbines, up to five platforms, and up to five export cables. The two projects when completed will have a combined capacity of 2.6 GW and can power more than 900,000 homes.

The project already has an agreement with Crowley for the Salem marshaling port. Further, it will establish O&M facilities in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Avangrid says the project can start construction in 2025. They expect it will deliver power by 2029.