Long-delayed Vineyard wind project secures funding and begins hiring


Hiring and training for the onshore and offshore construction of the Vineyard Wind I project can begin in the days and weeks to come now that the joint venture Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has secured $ 2.3 billion to finance its construction. .

Vineyard Wind announced on Wednesday that its first project, intended to be the country’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, has reached the financial close milestone and remains on track to bring about 800 megawatts of electricity into service for the Massachusetts by the end of 2023.

“Achieving financial close is the most important of all milestones, as today we finally shift from talking about offshore wind to the supply of large-scale offshore wind to the United States,” said Lars Pedersen, CEO by Vineyard Wind. “With the signing of these agreements, we now have everything in place to begin construction, launching an industry that will immediately begin to create jobs and make a significant contribution to meeting Massachusetts’ carbon pollution reduction goals.”

Onshore construction is expected to begin on Thursday at Barnstable, where electricity generated by the offshore wind farm is expected to come ashore and connect to the grid, the company said.

“We will start to prepare the land substation for the place where the electricity will eventually be connected to the grid and, in the coming weeks, we will start to prepare the cable going from the sea to this substation”, a Pedersen told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “So there will be construction work on Cape Town, preparation for the landing and also the opening of the roads in coordination with the town of Barnstable which will carry out a sewer project in parallel with our cabling project. immediate action and we are very excited to move forward. “

Once funding is secured, Vineyard Wind plans to issue a notice to proceed to its subcontractors “in the days and weeks to come,” which will allow suppliers to begin hiring, training and mobilizing workers. Construction work at sea is expected to begin in 2022.

While many industries have seen the time to source certain items and materials skyrocket as the pandemic disrupted supply chains, Pedersen said Vineyard Wind does not anticipate delays on that front.

“All of this has been considered as part of this financial due diligence and has been carefully considered,” he said.

In July, Vineyard Wind signed a project employment contract with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council to ensure at least 500 union workers will help build the country’s first major offshore wind farm. The project, along with the 804 MW Mayflower Wind Project which is also under contract to supply electricity to Massachusetts, will use the New Bedford Marine Trade Terminal as the primary staging and deployment base.

Avangrid CEO Dennis Arriola said the financial close “demonstrates the confidence of the financial community in Vineyard Wind 1 and the sustainability strategy of AVANGRID, and more broadly, the US offshore wind industry.”

Vineyard Wind said it was advised by Santander and worked with eight other US and international banks to raise the $ 2.3 billion in senior debt.

Vineyard Wind I, which is expected to include 62 turbines, is planned 24 km south of Martha’s Vineyard. It was the first offshore wind project selected by Massachusetts utilities with input from the Baker administration to fulfill part of a 2016 clean energy law.

It is expected to generate cleaner electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, create at least 3,600 jobs, cut costs for Massachusetts taxpayers by about $ 1.4 billion, and eliminate 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

The project faces the challenges of two federal lawsuits, one brought by the fishing industry and the other by those seeking to preserve the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Pedersen said Wednesday that Vineyard Wind never commented on pending litigation, but still answered a reporter’s question about the lawsuits.

“The lawsuits you mention were reviewed as part of the due diligence process and today we have successfully closed and nine banks have decided to invest alongside use in this project,” he said. declared.

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