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Two Mass-based offshore wind farms clear biggest federal hurdle

Avangrid's Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind locations are southwest of Vineyard Wind 1.
Avangrid's Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind locations are southwest of Vineyard Wind 1.

Two wind farms bidding for a contract in Massachusetts have cleared a major federal hurdle by receiving a favorable Record of Decision, a combined approval by agencies responsible for ocean energy, marine fisheries, and waterways engineering.

The projects are New England Wind 1 and 2, formerly called Park City Wind and Commonwealth Wind. Both are owned by Avangrid and are covered by a single decision.

Although the projects need additional federal permits, the decision announced Tuesday is considered the primary approval from the Biden administration, said Ken Kimmell, Avangrid’s chief development officer for offshore wind.

“This is a huge milestone,” he said. “We've been working at this for over four years, and it really underscores everything that we've been saying about these projects, that they are so mature and ready to go.”

Both projects are designed to land power cables in Barnstable, one at Craigville Beach and one at Dowses Beach. The Craigville landing has received a state permit; the Dowses location is still seeking the permit.

Right now, neither of the projects has a contract to sell the power they would generate, which is expected to be between 2,036 and 2,600 megawatts for the two projects combined.

Avangrid is one of three bidders vying for a state or regional contract in Massachusetts.

According to the Record of Decision, the combined projects would have up to 129 turbines. They would be located southwest of Vineyard Wind, about 23 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, and could power more than 900,000 homes.

They still need approval of their construction and operations plan from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.