The Coast of Rhode Island, the site of the United States’ first offshore wind farm and the nation’s first substantial step forward in this industry.
The wind farm, consisting of five massive turbines (each twice the size of the statue of liberty) is located three miles off the coast of Block island and is the product of massive partnership between GE and Deepwater Wind. This $300 million project has already begun delivering power to the New England grid as of December 12th and will power 17,000 homes.
“We’re more confident than ever that this is just the start of a new US renewable energy industry that will put thousands of Americans to work and power communities up and down the East Coast for decades to come,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a statement Monday while remaking on the crucial task of replacing outmoded power plants in the United States.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Abigail Ross Hopper, commented on this monumentous occasion stating that “To be able to go and see turbines spinning in U.S. waters is incredible.”
The 2 year project was meant to conclude in November, but delays in final approvals from regulators halted the project. Deepwater experienced some technical difficulties, a drill bit left inside a turbine preventing it from spinning; however the company stated that it wouldn’t postpone the startup.
The wind farm, expected to supply 30 megawatts annually, should provide more than enough energy to meet Block Island’s demands, with excess energy being redirected to the Rhode Island mainland using underwater cables.
Support for the wind farm has mostly been positive, with many Block Island residents praising the project for reducing high energy costs on the island. On the other hand, some residents are opposing the project for drastically altering ocean views.
Despite resistance from the fishing industry, Grybowski believes that more states will follow Rhode Island’s example. Deepwater wind are already in talks with New York to build a wind farm off the eastern coast of Long Island which would be three times larger than the Block Island wind farm.
Democratic governor Gina Raimondo mirrored these comments hoping that Rhode Island could lead the way to energy cost reduction and addressing climate change for future generations.