• Proposed US offshore wind farm Vineyard Wind expects a favorable BOEM review today, leading to April approval.
  • Clean energy accounted for 47% of Germany’s power mix in 2020, up from 42.3% in 2019.
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Vineyard Wind moves forward

Vineyard Wind 1, slated to become the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US, asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) under the Biden administration on January 25 to allow its federal permitting process to resume, as Electrek reported

The BOEM is expected to publish a favorable final environmental review of the project today, which would lead to a formal authorization in April (a decision comes 30 days after the review is released, as per federal law). Vineyard Wind 1 is expected to reach financial close in the second half of 2021 and go live in late 2023.

Vineyard Wind 1, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, is an 800-megawatt project 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard. The project will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year. 

When the project decided to switch to GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X turbines, which have a powerful rating of 12-14MW, and paused the federal permitting process to determine whether design changes were necessary, the Trump administration’s BOEM canceled Vineyard Wind 1’s review in December.

GCaptain points out [via Bloomberg]:

President Joe Biden, who is aggressively pursuing a clean-energy agenda, signed in January an executive order to double wind generation in US waters by 2030. The Vineyard project alone would satisfy that commitment.

Several large offshore wind farms are planned off the US East Coast.

Wind farms are often wrongly blamed for disproportionately harming birds. The National Audubon Society provided a statement to Electrek about Vineyard Wind’s progress. Garry George, director of the National Audubon Society’s Clean Energy Initiative, said:

As the lives of billions of birds hang in the balance due to climate change, responsibly sited and reviewed clean energy projects like Vineyard Wind are critical to their survival.

This project shows that it’s entirely possible to boldly pursue a cleaner future while acting responsibly toward wildlife.

Germany’s clean energy increase

Clean energy accounted for 47% of Germany’s domestically produced power mix in 2020, up from 42.3% in 2019, according to data released on Friday by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

Wind grew to 25.6%. It surpassed coal, which is down to 24.8% from 29.8% in 2019. Solar also grew marginally, from 7.8% to 9%. Nuclear energy and natural gas came in at 12.1% and 13.6%, respectively. Biogas also grew from 5.5% to 6%.

Overall, there was a 5.9% year-on-year drop in Germany’s total power generation in 2020, at 502.6 billion kWh due to the pandemic lockdowns.

Destatis writes:

The lower total electricity generation as well as the increased share of renewable energies and the decline in electricity feed-in from coal-fired power plants are partly related to the lockdown in spring 2020: The comparatively low electricity demand during this period was largely covered by renewable energies. Due to the feed-in priority for these energy sources, many conventional power plants have been cut back. Only natural gas power plants, which can react more flexibly to fluctuations in electricity feed-in from renewable energy sources compared to other conventional power plants, recorded a slight increase of 3.6% in 2020 compared to the previous year. 

Germany imported 48% of electricity (a 19.7% increase) and exported 67% of electricity (an 8% drop).

If you click on the link above, you can see actual figures in terawatt hours in a chart.

Photo: Block Island in Rhode Island, the US’s first offshore wind farm

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