Offshore wind farm construction underway as power expected to flow this fall

BOURNE, Mass. — History is being made, and can now be seen, off the coast of Cape Cod.

The first large-scale commercial offshore wind farm in the county is now under construction.

Vineyard Wind is being built about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Sy Oytan, Avangrid CEO for offshore wind told Boston 25 News that this is a massive undertaking from an engineering, permitting, and environmental science perspective.

The price tag for the project is $4 billion.

“The wind turbines we’re installing here will be the biggest in the world,” Oytan said.

The turbines will site on foundations that are now starting to pop up out of the ocean.

A nautical mile will separate each one to make it is easier for boats to navigate around them.

“Massachusetts, unlike Texas or some states in the mid-west, doesn’t have land for onshore solar or onshore wind to build renewable energy capacity,” Oytan explained.

Right now, cables from the shore are being connected to the massive power station that sits over the water. It’s about the size of a football field.

By mid-October, power will start flowing in Massachusetts homes from the turbines.

When Vineyard Wind is completed next year, 62 turbines will be generating enough power for 400,000 homes.

That’s about 6% of the state’s energy needs.

“Right off the shores of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts we have the most robust wind in the contiguous United States,” said State Representative Jeff Roy who is co-chair of the legislative committee that oversees energy issues.

He believes this project will protect Massachusetts consumers.

“For the first time in a long time, we will have energy independence. We’re going to be producing our own energy right here off the shore of Massachusetts. We’re not going to be subjected to the price volatility and the price spikes that are associated with exporting foreign sources of energy.”

As evidence of climate change becomes more dramatic, a clean energy project like this gives some environmentalists a boost.

Kelt Wilska, Maine’s representative to the New England Offshore Wind Coalition and who toured the Vineyard Wind site, said it gives him a lot of hope.

He’s very concerned about the Gulf of Maine which surrounds the Massachusetts coastline.

“It’s warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans”, Wilska said. “I see it as a victim of climate change, but I also see it as a solution to climate change because we’re working on offshore wind turbines in the Gulf of Maine as a clean energy source.”

The wind turbines will start to be assembled as early as next week. Each one will stand 850 feet which is taller than any building in New England.

It’s not just the wind that makes this region ideal for wind power.

Another reason is the depth of the ocean around here. It’s relatively shallow which makes construction easier.

It’s also good for an offshore wind farm to be near a populated area so that it is easy to get the power to the people.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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