You may recall that American companies are investing in offshore wind farms to offset US reliance on fossil fuels and, more importantly, offshore drilling. Well, it appears that the first offshore wind farm has finally commenced commercial operations and is now sending, clean, renewable energy directly into New England’s energy grid.
Announced on Monday the Block Island Wind Farm sits just of the coast of Rhode Island. This 30 megawatt installation has five turbines and a submarine transmission cable system that links the energy produced at the farm with the energy grid on the mainland, explains offshore developer Deepwater Wind. These turbines sit 589 feet above sea level, which makes them the tallest turbines in the world.
“We’ve made history here in the Ocean State, but our work is far from over,” comments Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “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.”
What’s more, it was an American company—based in Louisiana—who built the five foundations. Their specialty is in offshore oil and gas.
Deepwater Wind says that the 30 megawatt power classification is really at peak capacity, but so long as they keep pace, the installation will be able to power 17,000 homes on Block Island, which is steady 12 miles from the mainland. These homes currently rely on diesel fuel for their electricity.
Obviously, offshore wind energy is still a fledgling industry in the United States; a country that is somewhat notorious for its slack on adopting new, green technologies. At least, that is, compared to Europe, which is already getting in excess of 11,000 megawatts of power in offshore wind energy; Britain and Germany are easily among the global leaders in this renewable energy.
Fortunately, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that offshore wind has the potential to produce at least four times more power than what is currently required from the U.S. grid. Policies continue to move forward in support of this development, but it is still slow going.
Finally, Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo says of the project: “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. 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.”