AWEA: Steel going in the water for America's first offshore wind farm

July 16, 2015

Photo Credit: Deepwater Wind


(Article by American Wind Energy Association) 

Next week, Deepwater Wind plans to have steel going into the water as offshore construction begins on Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s first offshore wind project. The wind farm will provide renewable energy to an island which currently relies exclusively on diesel fuel ferried to it from the mainland.


Block Island Wind Farm will be a 30 MW, 5-turbine project in state waters three miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The wind farm is expected to save local residents up to 40 percent on energy bills, add $42 million in net benefits to Rhode Island’s economy, and lower carbon pollution by 40,000 tons per year. Local support for the project is strong.


Globally, offshore wind is a proven technology, with over 6,000 MW installed worldwide. Here in the United States, we have vast offshore wind potential and there are currently 11 projects spanning 10 states, representing 2,500 MW, in various stages of development. These projects have been proposed on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Block Island Wind Farm could be the first of a generation of offshore wind projects that will revitalize urban ports and transform our energy supply.


Offshore wind can create well-paying jobs and attract billions in private investment.


As Deepwater Wind’s experience demonstrates, the development of offshore wind projects provides business opportunities that will revitalize port economies. On a local level, Deepwater entered into an agreement with the Rhode Island Fast Ferry company for the operation of an offshore wind service vessel that will be used for construction and maintenance of Block Island Wind Farm.  The offshore wind service vessel will be built by the local company Blount Boats.  These types of opportunities in the marine trades create a demand for skilled labor in port cities. On the national level, offshore wind development provides an opportunity to harness the expertise of the Gulf of Mexico region which has extensive experience with the offshore oil and gas industry and apply that expertise to meet the demands of a promising new industry. For example, it was the Louisiana companies Keystone Engineering and Gulf Island Fabrication that designed and constructed the foundations that will be used in the Block Island Wind Farm. The foundations are currently in transit from the Gulf of Mexico to New England.


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