Iberdrola launches Vineyard Wind, its first offshore wind farm in the US | Economy

Avangrid, Iberdrola’s US subsidiary, has turned the page on its purchase of PNM Resources, which it finally abandoned last Sunday. And it came with the launch of one of its most iconic projects: the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm off the New England coast in the northeastern United States. The group, chaired by Ignacio Sanchez Galan, together with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) owns 50% of the park.

The Avangrid plant and another that came online off New York last month and built by Danish company Ørsted for U.S. utility Eversource are the first two large offshore wind farms to begin supplying electricity to the United States. The sector has faced, on the one hand, renewable energy incentives promoted by Joe Biden’s government, but on the other hand, it has suffered setbacks due to rising raw material costs, rising interest rates and supply chain problems, leading to the cancellation of some contracts.

“2023 was a historic year for the offshore wind industry, marked by steel in the water and people at work. Today, we begin a new chapter and welcome 2024 by delivering the first clean offshore wind power to the Massachusetts grid,” Pedro Azagra, CEO of Avangrid, said in a statement. “We have reached a critical moment for climate action in the United States and the dawn of the American offshore wind industry,” he said.

“This is a historic moment for the American offshore wind industry,” said Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey. “Looking to the future, Massachusetts is moving toward energy independence thanks to our nation-leading offshore wind energy efforts,” he added.

Commissioning has so far occurred on a small scale. As part of the initial commissioning process at 23:52 on Tuesday 2 January 2024, one turbine delivered approximately five megawatts of power, with further testing expected to take place both onshore and offshore in the coming weeks. The project hopes to have the five turbines operating at full capacity in the near future.

Power from these projects is connected to the New England grid in Barnstable and transmitted through underground cables that connect to a substation further inland on Cape Cod. turbines that will generate 806 megawatts (MW), enough to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts.

According to Avangrid, the park will create 3,600 full-time jobs, save customers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, equivalent to removing 325 000 cars. out of circulation annually.

Canceled contracts

In addition to its 50% stake in Vineyard Wind, Avangrid owns 100% of Commonwealth Wind (1,200 MW in Massachusetts) and Park City Wind (804 MW in Connecticut), two of the most advanced offshore wind projects in the United States. The company is also developing Kitty Hawk Wind, which could potentially deliver 3,500 megawatts to Virginia and North Carolina, enough to power one million homes and businesses in the region. The company has said since 2022 that it is looking for partners for these projects, but the difficult environment has made it difficult to sign up.

Last summer, Avangrid agreed to pay $48 million (about 44 million euros at current exchange rates) for breaching energy marketing agreements with Commonwealth Wind, its 1,200-megawatt, 1,200-megawatt, $4,000 million investment in New England’s largest offshore wind farm project. dollars. The company considered the project not economically viable on the initially agreed terms and asked to renegotiate the contracts, but the power distribution centers closed altogether.

Similar contract terminations by other companies have occurred in other states such as Connecticut and New Jersey. Also on Wednesday, Norway’s Equinor and Britain’s BP reneged on an agreement to sell power to New York state from their Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farm, citing rising inflation, rising interest rates and supply problems. chain.

“Commercial viability is critical for ambitious projects of this size and scale. The decision on Empire Wind 2 provides an opportunity to rebuild and develop a stronger, more reliable project for the future,” said Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables America, in a statement.

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