Massachusetts prepares for wind energy

Source: Jan Ellen, Yale Climate Connections • Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Off-shore wind turbines
Off-shore wind turbines near Denmark coast.

Off-shore wind energy is common in Europe. It’s never taken off in the U.S. But now Massachusetts is changing that.

The state will soon request competitive bids for off-shore wind development – at sites 14 miles or more from Martha’s Vineyard. Bill White, the Director of Offshore Wind at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, says the location is perfect.

White: “The wind speed in the northeast and off the coast of Massachusetts is some of the best wind speeds in the world. And they’re constant, and they’re consistent, which is important for power development.”

To encourage development, the state built a marine terminal to receive, construct, and repair wind turbines, which are too big for most ports.

To make sure the state also uses the clean wind energy, Massachusetts passed new legislation that requires the purchase of 1,600 megawatts of wind-powered electricity per year within the next decade.

White: “It’s the largest commitment that any state in the nation has made.”

Bidding for the first projects will start this year. And White says the first commercial-scale off-shore wind projects should be up and running – or should we say spinning – within four or five years.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Jan Ellen Spiegel is a freelance writer and editor based in Connecticut. In 2013, she received a Knight Journalism Fellowship at MIT on energy and climate.