Vineyard Wind Project Secures $2.3 Billion in Funding

Wind turbine - iStock
Wind turbine - iStock

Published Sep 16, 2021 7:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Construction of the Vineyard Wind project, America's first full-scale offshore wind farm, is set to begin now that its backers have secured $2.3 billion in financing from nine international and U.S. banks.

Vineyard Wind said with the new funding, the company will start its major commercial-scale offshore wind farm, despite the recent permitting lawsuit filed at the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, which is a group of commercial fishermen, filed a case challenging the decision by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to approve the project. They contend that offshore wind farms could have adverse impacts on the ocean environment and fishing industry.

Vineyard Wind plans to begin the project onshore this fall in Barnstable, Massachusetts, with the offshore segment of the work starting in 2022. The company expects power from the Vineyard Wind 1 installation to be delivered to the grid in 2023.

Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). The CEO of Vineyard, Lars Pederson said that "achieving financing is an important milestone because we can finally move from talking about offshore wind to delivering power on a commercial scale in the U.S.” He added that the company has everything in place to begin construction and will soon be creating new jobs.

The Vineyard Wind project was approved in May in a landmark permitting decision that significantly advanced the Biden administration’s offshore wind energy ambitions. The White House hopes to expand America's offshore wind capacity from the current 42 MW to 30,000 MW by 2030. The administration’s plan aims at fully transitioning the U.S. economy to clean energy by 2050 in an effort to combat climate change.

In approving Vineyard Wind's final permit application, BOEM said the project creates a roadmap for the future of development of the innovative offshore wind industry.

Vineyard Wind 1 is an 800 MW project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It will generate enough electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses, and its backers say that it will save rate payers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year.

The wind farm project will consist of 84 turbines, which will be installed in an east-west orientation with a minimum spacing of one nautical mile between them. The backers of adjacent wind farm proposals have agreed to maintain the same one-nm layout in order to make vessel navigation simpler throughout the region, and the U.S. Coast Guard has given the arrangement a positive review.