BOSTON – Government officials in Massachusetts and Maryland backed deals on Friday for four new offshore wind projects that will create 3.2 gigawatts (GW) of renewable offshore wind energy. That’s enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million American homes for a year. Though all four projects must still secure final approval from the Interior Department, their proposed plans would comprise more than one-tenth of the Biden administration’s goal to install 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.
In Massachusetts, two new projects will double the state's previous offshore wind capacity. Vineyard Wind's Commonwealth Wind project is expected to produce 1.2 GW and Mayflower Wind is planning a 400 megawatt (MW) project. The two projects match the 1.6 GW generating capacity of Brayton Point, which had been New England’s largest coal-fired power plant until it closed in 2017. Together, Commonwealth Wind and Mayflower Wind will produce enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes annually.
These two Massachusetts projects join two wind developments already underway. Vineyard Wind’s initial 800 megawatt project broke ground in November and Mayflower Wind's first 804 megawatt project began its federal review process recently and is expected to be up and running by 2025.
Meanwhile, in Maryland, regulators approved deals for two developers, Orsted AS and US Wind. These projects will match the Massachusetts commitments, generating an ambitious 1.6 gigawatts of electricity combined. Maryland has yet to obtain a fully approved project.
In response, Jolie Jaycobs, Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Offshore Wind associate, released the following statement:
“What makes both sets of project approvals so exciting is that instead of just picking one smaller project, both states elected to allow both projects to move forward.
“It’s wonderful to see Massachusetts continue to assert its leadership in the offshore wind sector by doubling their offshore wind capacity. It is also exciting that Maryland will take yet another major step toward becoming a regional hub for offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic. The Atlantic coast has tremendous offshore wind potential. Using the latest technology, these offshore wind projects harness the clean abundant energy blowing off our shores to power communities up and down the eastern seaboard. These projects will put us well on our way to meeting the Biden administration’s nationwide offshore wind goal. We all stand to benefit from the cleaner air and healthier climate if we harness the power of the wind off our shores, and I look forward to seeing which state takes the next leap to tap into the power of offshore wind.”