“We have no time to waste in cultivating and investing in a clean energy economy that can sustain us for generations,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement Wednesday.
The Interior Department said it adopted “a range of measures” to “avoid, minimize, and mitigate potential impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed project.” The agency also said it consulted with tribes, local governments and various industries.
The administration plans to build at least 16 offshore wind energy facilities by 2025.
Construction began last week on the first major offshore project — an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The project is expected to start sending power to the grid in 2023.
The approval from the Interior Department paves the way for the country’s second large-scale offshore wind farm after a similar project got underway in Massachusetts. The administration aims to put the U.S. on a path to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, powering about 10 million homes.
The approximately 130-megawatt project — located 19 miles southeast of Block Island, R.I., and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, N.Y. — will eventually power about 70,000 homes on Long Island and create more than 300 jobs, according to the Biden administration.
The U.S. is a latecomer in the global race to build offshore wind farms to lower carbon emissions. Many countries have already expanded their renewable energy capabilities using offshore wind projects.
Worldwide, 6.1 gigawatts were created by new offshore wind projects last year, according to a recent report by the Global Wind Energy Council. China led the pack, adding more than 3 gigawatts, followed by the Netherlands with 1.5 gigawatts and Belgium with 706 megawatts, the report said.
Dartunorro Clark covers politics, including the Covid-19 recovery, for NBC News.