Block Island Wind Farm, the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States, is officially running operations. The wind farm, developed by Deepwater Wind, LLC, produces 30 megawatts of energy through 5 turbines, which were assembled at sea. The installation took a total of two years, and received support from 300 local workers who helped develop, build and commission the project.
“It’s official: America’s first offshore wind farm is powering homes and businesses with clean, reliable energy,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). “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.”
According to the Providence Journal, each turbine was assembled in a multistep process. First, the turbine’s foundation was pinned to the ocean floor. After that, towers were added in three sections, as well as the nacelles, which hold the generators. Finally, they place the blades of the turbines, which were 58,000 pounds each.
In a report outlining the scope of the project, Deepwater Wind said the blades were made with fiberglass-reinforced epoxy resin manufactured in a single operation. Additionally, the nacelles are made of fiberglass-reinforced laminated panels with multiple fire-protecting properties.
Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project’s five offshore wind turbines, put the wind farm through its paces during the initial 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.
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said that there is still more work that needs to be done, which will benefit both the environment and the American economy. The company notes on its website that in Europe, the offshore wind industry employs nearly 60,000 works, and there is a great opportunity for American businesses to take part in this burgeoning industry.
“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.”