First U.S. offshore wind farm begins operation

Wednesday, 21 December, 2016 - 12:15
Operations were launched in December 2016 at Deepwater Wind's Block Island Wind Farm. (Photo: Deepwater Wind)
Operations were launched in December 2016 at Deepwater Wind's Block Island Wind Farm. (Photo: Deepwater Wind)

In December America’s first offshore wind farm began generating electricity in the waters near Block Island, Rhode Island. It is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States.

The five-turbine, 30-MW project was developed by Deepwater Wind. Construction began in 2015 and in late summer 2016 Alstom Haliade 150 6-MW turbines were installed. The project now generates enough electricity to supply 17,000 average homes and helps to keep Block Island’s electricity costs down by displacing expensive diesel generators.

“We’ve jumpstarted a new energy industry here in the U.S., with tremendous support of the Block Island community, state and federal officials, and a number of U.S. supply chain partners who see offshore wind as a new opportunity for their business,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski

“This is a triumph for the American worker and U.S. energy independence, and it’s just the beginning,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Offshore wind presents a unique opportunity for additional U.S. ocean energy development. Scaling up will create well-paying American jobs and drive private investment to strengthen our infrastructure.”

There are additional American offshore wind projects in various stages of development off the East, West and Great Lakes coasts and several of these projects could come online before 2030. The overall offshore wind resource potential in the U.S. is estimated to be four times the generating capacity of the entire U.S. electricity grid.

Silke Funke / AWEA

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