Iberdrola, through its US subsidiary Avangrid, has signed an agreement to assume responsibility as the operations and management services provider for Vineyard Wind 1, the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the United States, the company said.
Vineyard Wind 1 is an 800 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts and is owned by a 50/50 joint venture between Avangrid and Danish fund Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
Specifically, the agreements include the operation and maintenance services contract and the asset management contract which designate Avangrid as responsible for overseeing the operation and management of the facility once construction is completed and commercial operations commence.
Through these agreements, the Iberdrola subsidiary will provide services to the Vineyard Wind 1 project and lead the operations management of the wind farm, including the supervision of critical tasks such as turbine, cable and substation maintenance, contractor coordination and a permanent service control centre, among others.
Avangrid will hire approximately 20 technically skilled employees, including key positions who will undergo intensive training abroad at Iberdrola's operating offshore wind farms in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, helping to prepare them to operate the innovative US facility.
Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra said the company "is proud to be a pioneer in the US offshore wind industry and, by leveraging the Iberdrola group's global expertise and a skilled and talented local workforce, is well positioned to maximise the operation and performance" of the project.
He also stressed that offshore wind represents "a great opportunity to advance America's ambitious climate goals" and highlighted that "the successful completion and operation of 'Vineyard Wind 1' will "lay the foundation for continued industry growth for decades to come", including Avangrid's 4.9 gigawatt (GW) portfolio of projects in this technology.
Vineyard Wind 1 is scheduled to begin delivering clean energy to Massachusetts in 2023 and reach commercial operations in 2024.
The wind farm will generate affordable, renewable energy for more than 400,000 homes and businesses, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 1.6 million tonnes per year, while creating 3,600 full-time equivalent jobs and saving taxpayers $1.4 billion (around €1.374 billion) over the life of the project.
Iberdrola, through Avangrid, has a portfolio of offshore wind projects in the US of nearly five GW. In addition to its 50% stake in Vineyard Wind 1, it owns 100% of the 1,200 MW Commonwealth Wind project, also off the coast of Massachusetts, as well as the 804 MW Park City Wind project off the coast of Connecticut, and the 2,500 MW Kitty Hawk Wind project off the coast of North Carolina.
In Iberdrola's global renewable energy portfolio, which totals 90 GW, offshore wind is one of the group's main growth opportunities.
In the last year, the group chaired by Ignacio Sánchez Galán has invested in new growth platforms in other countries such as Poland, Sweden, Ireland, Japan and Australia, which has increased the size of the group's global offshore wind portfolio to 31.7 GW.