Iberdrola is making progress in the construction of Vineyard Wind I, the largest commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the United States. The company has received the first shipment of components for the 62 wind turbines that will make up the farm at the port of New Bedford. Specifically, these are the tower sections, manufactured in Portugal.
The towers – the base of the turbine that sits on top of the yellow transition piece – will arrive in three sections. Once onshore, they will be installed at the port before being partially assembled and loaded onto a specialised barge that will transport the parts to the wind farm site from the summer. The assembly of the wind turbines in New Bedford alone will create 100 jobs.
Once the project, located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 34 miles south of the Cape Cod peninsula, completes construction and comes online, it will have an output of 800 MW, producing enough clean energy to meet the power needs of more than 400,000 homes and businesses across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The project will also prevent the emission of more than 1.6 million tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of removing 325,000 vehicles from the road.
The Vineyard Wind I project, which began construction in 2021 and is expected to be operational in 2024, will involve an investment of $3 billion, secured through contracts with the state’s three major utilities.
Contribution to employment
Vineyard WInd I will contribute to the creation of 3,600 full-time equivalent jobs. These include those generated at the Spanish company Windar Renovables, one of the project’s main suppliers.
Last month, the Asturian company shipped the first six transition parts from Avilés. The contract, worth around €100 million, will provide the park with 62 transition parts, which are creating around 400 jobs (500 at peak times) at its facilities in Asturias.
The park will also have 62 turbines, each as tall as the Torre de Cristal, the tallest skyscraper in Spain and the fourth tallest in the European Union, with blades the length of a football pitch.
The wind turbine generators, model Haliade-X and manufactured by General Electric, have up to 13 megawatts of power, and are the most powerful to date. Each can save 52,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and in a single rotation – of 38,000 m2 – can generate the energy needed for a household for more than two days.
Iberdrola, through Avangrid Renewables, is participating in the development of the wind farm together with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) through a 50/50 joint venture. Once construction of the wind farm is completed and commercial operation begins, Iberdrola will take the lead in the operation phase of the project and assume responsibility for controlling the operation and management of the facility.
Among the services Iberdrola will provide to the project are operations management, supervision of tasks such as turbine, cable and substation maintenance, contractor coordination, 24/7 control centre services, marketing and asset management.
Pioneers in offshore wind
Two decades ago, the group was a pioneer in onshore wind energy, and now it is also a pioneer in offshore wind, one of the company’s major growth vectors. At the end of the first quarter of 2023, it had 1,258 MW offshore in operation and 5,500 MW under construction or secured long-term contracts, which will come into operation before 2027 thanks to investments of close to €30 billion worldwide during this decade.
In addition to the Vineyard Wind I project, in the United States, through Avangrid, Iberdrola owns 100% of Commonwealth Wind (1,200 MW in Massachusetts), Park City Wind (804 MW in Connecticut) and Kitty Hawk Wind (2,500 MW off the coast of North Carolina). In total, the group has a forecast of 5,000 MW of offshore wind energy on the east coast of the United States, enough to supply more than two million homes.
The company’s commitment to renewables is reflected in its record investment plan of €47 billion in the period 2023-2025, of which €17 million will be allocated to the renewables business. With these investments, it will increase installed renewable capacity by 12,100 MW to 52,000 MW in 2025 – 6,300 MW of photovoltaic, 3,100 MW of onshore wind, 1,800 MW of offshore, 700 MW of batteries and 200 MW of hydro.