Offshore wind on its way to the U.S.

This post originally appeared on AWEA’s Into the Wind blog.

The first U.S. offshore wind farm is officially on its way to becoming a reality.

The 30 megawatt Deepwater Wind project broke ground this spring and recently finished construction on its first phase, with progress set to resume after the winter.

Highlights of this landmark include:

  • Generating enough electricity for over 17,000 Rhode Island homes
  • Employing 300 workers during construction
  • Featuring both the largest wind turbines GE manufactures and the largest turbines in the U.S.; and
  • Helping Block Island transition away from the expensive, high emission diesel fuel it has been forced to use for decades.

Because Deepwater will generate more electricity than Block Island needs, an underwater transmission line will be built to connect the island to the mainland grid for the first time as well.

This will help both Block Island and Rhode Island proper realize one of the largest benefits of offshore wind: its greatest output occurs during the late afternoon and early evening, exactly when electricity demand is highest.

Deepwater Wind is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016, a milestone for U.S. energy generation celebrated by public and private partners alike.

As Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski explained, “From the first ‘steel in the water‘ in July to the last deck lift in November, we’ve completed a season of firsts – not only for the Block Island Wind Farm, but also for the launch of a new American offshore wind industry. We are proud of the work we’ve accomplished so far, but we’ve only just begun – and 2016 will be a year to remember.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimonda agreed, noting “Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm, and we’re quickly becoming a center of innovation in this growing industry. With this project, we’re putting hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports to build a project that will help diversify Rhode Island’s energy mix and protect our environment.”

To learn more about America’s first offshore wind project, visit Deepwater Wind’s website.

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Greg Alvarez is the Writer and Content Manager for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). He is the head editor and writer for AWEA's blog, Into the Wind, and oversees AWEA's online content and opinion writing. Greg holds a Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University.

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