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A new kind of wind energy is picking up speed off the coast of Massachusetts.

A new kind of wind energy is picking up speed off the coast of Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind, the country’s first commercial-scale, offshore windmill project, is churning out electricity this year near Martha’s Vineyard. It is part of a hard-fought transition toward greater development of renewable energies and less reliance on fossil fuels.

When the project is completed later this year, some 62 turbines rising 800 feet above the surface of the water will generate enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in Massachusetts with clean, affordable energy.

Wind is an abundant, inexhaustible domestic resource that uses little to no fossil fuels once in operation and keeps millions of metric tons of carbon emissions out of the atmosphere every year. It’s an affordable, cost-effective source of energy that also creates thousands of good-paying jobs for local communities.

However, the United States is well behind its peers in Europe when it comes to wind energy and has had many fits and starts in the struggle to make offshore wind power a viable industry here. In fact, we’re not completely in the clear just yet.

President Biden has committed to an ambitious goal of collecting 30,000 megawatts of wind energy into the American grid system by 2030 – for comparison, the Vineyard Wind project itself generates 800 megawatts – but delays, lawsuits, economic tensions, and the long processes of permitting and construction have caused some planned projects to be postponed or canceled altogether.

To meet this critical goal of 30,000 megawatts of wind power, we’ll have to keep pressure on our local officials and communities. But like most things in the environmental world, wind energy is not without controversy.

Wind projects have faced considerable opposition over the years from different interest groups who say they oppose anything that might jeopardize ocean views, recreation, coastal development, or marine life, such as whales.

Three studies by scientists found no credible evidence linking windmills to whale deaths, but some groups still oppose them. Wind developers are taking steps to reduce harm and discomfort by using acoustic monitoring, and infrared cameras, limiting pile driving outside times when whales are migrating, and using bubble curtains to contain loud noise.

Still, it’s a busy ocean out there, and the construction and energy industries must share it safely and responsibly with our sea creature friends as we work toward a more sustainable future. Windmills will benefit whales and ocean life in the decades to come.

Steady on,


Posted on March 25, 2024.

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