Energy & Environment

Nation’s first offshore wind farm begins operations

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The country’s first offshore wind farm went online on Monday. 

Deepwater Wind’s $300 million Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island began generating power on Monday, the project’s developer announced. 

Four of the 30-megawatt wind farm’s five turbines are now able to spin at full power, the Providence Journal reports, providing electricity for the New England power gird through a subterranean transmission system. 

Energy production comes nearly four months after construction on the Block Island Wind Farm ended in August. The farm’s turbines have been spinning since then, but their electricity generation has been capped as it went through a testing phase. 

{mosads}Technicians are repairing one of turbines that was damaged during the construction process, the Journal reports.

In a statement, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffry Grybowski said Monday’s announcement marks the beginning of growth in the offshore wind market in the United States. 

“We’ve made history here in the Ocean State, but our work is far from over,” Grybowski said. “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.”

Local officials and environmentalists cheered the opening of the project. 

“This is a historic milestone for reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s happening here in the Ocean State,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said. 

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said, “ I hope that in addition to providing clean, renewable energy, the offshore wind model we’ve put in place here can generate more wind projects and good-paying jobs.”

In a statement, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) industry group said the project could the first of many, nothing other projects in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and in the Great Lakes. 

“This is a triumph for the American worker and U.S. energy independence, and it’s just the beginning,” Tom Kiernan, the group’s CEO, said.

—This post was updated at 3:45 p.m.

Tags Jack Reed offshore wind Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse Wind power

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