While many projects across New England remained in a holding pattern with continuing financial uncertainty in another pandemic year, one project finally got out of the gate in 2021 after years of delay. 

The Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind energy project off the southern Massachusetts coast, which faced permit hurdles linked to federal politics and other issues, started onshore transmission line work at the end of last year. Groundbreaking was held for the 800-MW project in Barnstable, Mass., seven months after the Biden administration’s final approved for what will be the first commercial scale offshore wind farm built in the U.S. and permitted in federal waters. Originally set to be approved in 2019, it was delayed by the Trump administration’s last minute red tape. 

“Massachusetts is proud to launch an entirely new industry in the United States by building this historic project,” Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said at the Nov. 19 groundbreaking. “By officially beginning onshore construction on Vineyard Wind, we are charting a new course for clean energy and climate action.”  

The $2.8-billion project is by far the highest valued construction start in New England. But 2021 also saw nine other large projects move forward  in the Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont region. 

Compiled from information supplied by Dodge Data & Analytics and other sources, all 10 projects listed on the 2022 ENR New England Top Starts ranking began substantial construction last year. The combined value of this year’s list is $5.4 billion, nearly as much as the $5.9 million total for the 20 largest projects listed on the 2021 ranking based on 2020 starts. 

With a construction value of $466 million, the Amazon North Andover Fulfillment Center in Andover, Mass., is ranked second on this year’s list, while the third-largest  project is the $453-million Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Phase III Design-Build located in Pawtucket, R.I. The minimum project value on this year’s list is $175 million.