The Biden administration recently approved what will become the nation’s largest offshore wind farm to date, with the capacity to power hundreds of thousands of homes.
In July, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced its approval to move forward with the construction of Ocean Wind 1, which will be located 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The project will include 98 wind turbines and three offshore substations to help get the wind-generated electricity to shore.
This marks the Biden administration’s third approval of a commercial-scale offshore wind energy project. The Vineyard Wind project, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was approved in May 2021, and the South Fork Wind Project, off the coast of New York and Rhode Island, was approved in November 2021, Quartz reports.
There is some pushback, however, with many worried about the turbines’ possible impact on endangered North American right whales, of which fewer than 350 remain. Local residents sued Vineyard Wind in 2021, alleging that the wind turbines harm them. This fear was heightened after a number of recent right whale deaths.
However, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on its website, “There are no known links between recent large whale mortalities and ongoing offshore wind surveys.”
The Ocean Wind 1 project has an estimated capacity of 1,100 megawatts of power and will be capable of powering more than 380,000 homes, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The agency also said the project will create more than 3,000 jobs throughout its development and construction cycle.
In addition, it will produce clean, renewable energy, helping local communities to drastically reduce their carbon footprints in the fight against climate change. Renewable energy, like wind power, also helps reduce some types of air pollution. Plus, it helps diversify the energy supply and reduce dependence on imported fuels.
“Today’s approval for the Ocean Wind 1 project is another milestone in our efforts to create good-paying union jobs while combating climate change and powering our nation,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement.
BOEM director Elizabeth Klein added, “Ocean Wind 1 represents another significant step forward for the offshore wind industry in the United States. The project’s approval demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to developing clean energy and fighting climate change.”
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