Avangrid’s federal approval readies start of New England offshore wind projects

Published on July 03, 2024 by Kim Riley

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Avangrid Inc., the nation’s leading offshore wind developer, recently received federal approval of its construction and operations plan for the New England Wind 1 and 2 offshore projects, which could provide enough clean, reliable energy to power nearly one million homes and businesses in the region.

“Completing the federal permitting program for New England Wind is a remarkable achievement made possible by diligence of our team, the engagement of our stakeholders, and the thorough and rigorous review from our federal partners,” Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra said in a July 1 statement. 

Now that Avangrid has secured all federal, state, regional, and local permits, Azagra said 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.”

New England Wind 1 will be located in a federal lease area roughly 30 miles south of Barnstable, Mass., that will make landfall under the Craigville Beach parking lot. The project will border Avangrid’s Vineyard Wind 1 to the south.

During the lifespan of the project, the New England Wind lease area is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly four million U.S. tons, or the equivalent of taking approximately 700,000 cars off the road each year. Combined, the two projects will create up to 9,200 full-time equivalent jobs and bring $8 billion in direct investment to the region, the company says.

Avangrid on March 27 submitted multiple proposals for both New England Wind projects to the Massachusetts-Rhode Island-Connecticut Multi-State Procurement for Offshore Wind. 

Those states are expected to announce selected projects from the competitive procurement in August. Thus far, New England Wind 1 is the only project in the solicitation that has all federal, state, and local permits; the ability to start construction in 2025; and to deliver power by 2029.

The approval of the construction and operations plan by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management follows the favorable Record of Decision issued in April by the Biden administration and comes after years of robust stakeholder engagement with tribal nations, members of local residential and fishing communities, and other ocean users, according to Avangrid. 

“Building offshore wind infrastructure is a complex and unique endeavor and rightly held to a high regulatory standard,” said Azagra. “The approval of our COP [construction and operations plan] reflects the depth of our expertise, our exhaustive and detailed planning, and our ability to deliver these critical projects.” 

Avangrid anticipates receiving a final authorization letter from the National Marine Fisheries Service on or around July 22.