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going green

Biden administration approves 1st major offshore wind farm in the U.S.

The Biden administration on Tuesday approved the Vineyard Wind project, the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

As proposed, the wind farm would be off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, consisting of 62 turbines able to produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes, The Washington Post reports. "I believe that a clean-energy future is within our grasp in the United States," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters, adding that the Vineyard Wind project is "a significant milestone in our efforts to build a clean and more equitable energy future while addressing the climate emergency."

Officials said the project will create roughly 3,600 jobs. "If you think about how complex it is to erect a wind turbine in the middle of the ocean — you need engineers, you need operating engineers, you need laborers, you need electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, and they have to be highly trained, highly skilled," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said during the conference call. "It's actually very dangerous work. And it's skilled work. But they're good, high-paying jobs."

Wanting to move away from fossil fuels, the Biden administration has set the goal of producing 30,000 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind by 2030, able to power 10 million homes. There are 13 offshore wind farms now under federal review. The U.S. has two offshore pilot projects operating off of Virginia and Rhode Island, and the seven combined turbines produce 42 megawatts of electricity.

Environmentalists have shared their concerns over the Vineyard Wind project, saying turbines could interfere with the migration of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Fisherman have also complained that the wind farm would go up in the same areas where they now catch scallops, sea bass, and other fish.