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This state just announced a massive, first-of-its-kind facility in the middle of the ocean — but there's been lots of pushback

The progress of Vineyard Wind is a hopeful sign for the future of renewable energy in the United States.

Massachusetts wind farm, Energy project in the middle of the ocean

Photo Credit: iStock

After years of planning and legal disputes, the United States' first commercial-scale offshore wind farm has finally begun construction off the coast of Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, will be located 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard. It's expected to begin producing clean energy for Massachusetts residents by the end of 2023.

Offshore wind farms have gained traction in many European and Asian countries. China, for example, recently started construction on the biggest wind turbine in the world. But so far, the U.S. has lagged behind.

Offshore wind farms have faced major opposition from right-wing political groups, largely due to misinformation and successful lobbying from industries that supply dirty energy sources. 

Vineyard Wind, in particular, has faced several lawsuits that sought to stop its progress, including from a group of fishermen represented by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which E&E News described as "a prominent conservative think tank with a history of supporting fossil fuels."

Vineyard Wind has since prevailed against those legal threats and now has "steel in the water," as its CEO, Klaus Moeller, explained to WBUR.

According to the project's official website, Vineyard Wind will generate electricity for 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, reducing carbon pollution by over 1.6 million tons per year. WBUR reported that it will also produce at least 3,600 jobs and reduce costs for Massachusetts ratepayers by an estimated $1.4 billion over 20 years.

The progress of Vineyard Wind is a hopeful sign for the future of renewable energy in the U.S., potentially clearing the way for more offshore wind farms in the near future. 

Virginia regulators recently approved a massive offshore wind farm that would dwarf Vineyard Wind, expected to be completed in 2026. Further, California officials recently announced a goal to produce enough wind energy to power 25 million homes using floating turbines by 2045.

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