Power developer Deepwater Wind said its Block Island Wind Farm has begun delivering electricity into the New England region’s grid, becoming the United States’ first commercially active offshore wind farm.
The energy produced from the Block Island Wind Farm is linked to the New England grid via Block Island and mainland Rhode Island by National Grid’s new sea2shore submarine transmission cable system.
The milestone concludes the two-year offshore installation of the wind farm, which Deepwater Wind said was completed on-time and on-budget with the help of more than 300 local workers.
“Our success here is a testament to the hard work of hundreds of local workers who helped build this historic project, and to the Block Islanders and the thousands more around the U.S. who’ve supported us every step of the way of this amazing journey,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.
Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project’s five offshore wind turbines, put the wind farm through its paces during the four-month testing period. The project’s crew transfer vessel, the Rhode Island-built Atlantic Pioneer, transported technicians to the wind farm around the clock.
“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,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “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. With this project, we’ve put hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports and are growing this innovative industry. I applaud Deepwater Wind for leading the way.”
“It’s official: America’s first offshore wind farm is powering homes and businesses with clean, reliable energy,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “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. Congratulations to all of the many partners whose years of diligent planning and outreach have put Rhode Island at the forefront of clean energy innovation and positioned our offshore wind industry for growth.”
“The Block Island Wind Farm is a symbol of Rhode Island’s national leadership in one of the most innovative industries in the country,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline. “As a nation, we have an obligation to respond to the threats posed by climate change, and off-shore wind energy promises to help us reduce our carbon pollution and create good-paying, sustainable jobs right here in Rhode Island. The start of commercial operations at the Block Island Wind Farm is an important step that marks the beginning of a new era in America’s green energy industries.”
“Each step of the way, each milestone achieved in the life of the Block Island Wind Farm, has been building to this moment. This is a historic and groundbreaking project for Rhode Island and for our country. I am so proud and excited to see the blades of progress turning and the wind farm in operation,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin.
“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.