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EGEB: First major US offshore wind farm asks Biden to restart permits

  • The Trump administration canceled federal permits for Vineyard Wind 1, and its developers have asked the Biden administration for a reboot.
  • Zinc-ion battery developer Salient Energy receives a $1.58 million grant from the California Energy Commission.
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Vineyard Wind renaissance

Vineyard Wind 1, slated to become the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US, yesterday asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) under the Biden administration to allow the federal permitting process to resume. 

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

Map: Vineyard Wind 1

Lars T. Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind, said:

Since there are no changes required to the [construction and operations plan], we expect that BOEM can finalize their review based on the extensive analysis and studies of the project over the last three years. We look forward to completing the permitting phase of the project and to finalizing the engineering, contracting, and financing of the first utility scale offshore wind farm in the US.

Vineyard Wind 1, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, is an 800-megawatt project located 15 miles off the coast of 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. 

Pending permit approval, the developers are still expecting to reach financial close in the second half of 2021 and begin commissioning the project in 2023.

Zinc-ion battery boost

Salient Energy, which develops zinc-ion batteries, today announced that it has received a $1.58 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to support the design and assembly of its zinc-ion residential  energy storage systems. 

Salient will use the grant to open an office and engineering facility in Oakland, California, which will commence in the second quarter of 2021. It will also allow hiring a team of engineers to design and assemble zinc-ion residential energy storage systems. The CEC will advise the company throughout the project.

Once the zinc-ion batteries are deemed commercially viable, Salient will help strive to meet California’s energy goals of replacing fossil-fuel-powered backup generators.

An academic paper in Science Direct points out:

Zinc-ion batteries (ZIBs) have recently attracted attention due to their safety, environmental friendliness, and lower cost, compared to [lithium-ion batteries]. They use aqueous electrolytes, which give them an advantage over multivalent ion batteries that require more complex electrolytes. However, as with every new technology, many fundamental and practical challenges must be overcome for ZIBs to become commercial products.

California is a leader in energy storage, with nearly 300 utility-scale storage projects. New York and Massachusetts are a distant second with around 40 each.

Janea Scott, CEC vice chair, said:

Diversifying our storage technology options will help ensure grid reliability and  allow for greater integration of the state’s vast renewable resources as California moves toward  a clean energy future.

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.