It’s not solar power, but it’s a major advance for its renewable energy cousin, wind power, in the US. The US’s first offshore wind farm, Deepwater Wind’s five-turbine, 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, began producing renewable energy to New England this week.
“Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – and I’m proud to be the only governor in America who can say we have steel in the water and blades spinning over the ocean,” said Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). “As the Ocean State, we’re motivated by our shared belief that we need to produce and consume cleaner, more sustainable energy and leave our kids a healthier planet—but also by this tremendous economic opportunity. With this project, we’ve put hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports and are growing this innovative industry. I applaud Deepwater Wind for leading the way.” The project will serve Block Island’s residents and as much as 40 percent on electricity bills, according to Deepwater. The company installed the project three miles off Rhode Island’s coast and east of Long Island, NY. It is connected is connected to the grid by National Grid’s new sea2shore submarine transmission cable system.
“Our success here is a testament to the hard work of hundreds of local workers who helped build this historic project, and to the Block Islanders and the thousands more around the U.S. who’ve supported us every step of the way of this amazing journey,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. The project is creating 300 jobs.
“Expanding wind energy in the United States, including offshore wind, will be critical to meeting our energy needs while preserving a clean environment,” said John Kostyack, Executive Director of the Wind Energy Foundation. “Offshore wind can bring local economic development and clean energy jobs that cut across a range of high tech, manufacturing, construction and operations sectors.”
It’s taken more than a decade for offshore wind to make it this far in the US. Offshore wind farms, which are ideal for wind generation since the winds off shore are more constant than on land in many places, have been turned down up and down the east coast. Meanwhile in Europe and some other places offshore wind has been taking off.
"The United States has finally tapped into the tremendous resource of offshore wind," said Bronte Payne, Clean Energy Associate with Environment America. "The Block Island Wind Farm and Deepwater Wind have led the way on offshore wind and shown a path forward toward a clean energy future."
Now other states are also considering offshore wind. For instance, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), signed a bill into law this year calling for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind development in the state, among other things.
"There is huge offshore wind potential along the Atlantic Coast, from Maine all the way to South Carolina. To truly take advantage of this pollution-free resource, we need state leaders to make clear long-term commitments to powering their states with clean, renewable energy like offshore wind power,” Payne said. "It is important that we build off this historic moment and ensure that the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm is the first of many powering the US."Tweet