First off­shore wind farm in U.S. opens off Rhode Is­land

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Jen­nifer McDermott

The na­tion’s first off­shore wind farm has opened off the coast of Rhode Is­land, ush­er­ing in a new era in the U.S. for the in­dus­try.

Deep­wa­ter Wind built five tur­bines 3 miles off Block Is­land to power about 17,000 homes, a project cost­ing about $300 mil­lion. It an­nounced Mon­day that the wind farm has be­gun pro­duc­ing en­ergy for the grid.

Deep­wa­ter Wind CEO Jef­frey Gry­bowski calls the open­ing a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion that un­locks the code of how to do off­shore wind in the U.S. at a cru­cial time when states are try­ing to fig­ure out how to re­place ag­ing power plants.

“We’re more con­fi­dent than ever that this is just the start of a new U.S. re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try that will put thou­sands of Amer­i­cans to work and power com­mu­ni­ties up and down the East Coast for decades to come,” he said in a state­ment Mon­day.

Abigail Ross Hopper, di­rec­tor of the Bureau of Ocean En­ergy Man­age­ment, said the wind farm proves that off­shore wind can hap­pen safely and ef­fi­ciently.

Deep­wa­ter Wind in­stalled the wind farm over two years.

Many Block Is­land res­i­dents sup­ported the wind farm as a way to drive down the is­land’s high en­ergy costs, though some op­posed it out of fear that the tur­bines would dra­mat­i­cally al­ter ocean views that both res­i­dents and visi­tors en­joy.

The wind farm is ex­pected to sup­ply about 30 megawatts of elec­tric­ity an­nu­ally. Na­tional Grid said that is more than enough to meet Block Is­land’s cur­rent de­mand and the ex­cess will be redi­rected to main­land Rhode Is­land through a sub­ma­rine ca­ble.

The off­shore wind in­dus­try is far more ad­vanced in Europe.

Demo­cratic Gov. Gina Rai­mondo has said she wants Rhode Is­land to be the most col­lab­o­ra­tive and ag­gres­sive state in cre­at­ing a sup­ply chain for wind en­ergy, to bring elec­tric­ity costs down and to ad­dress cli­mate change.

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