Wind Turbine off the Coast of Block Island

Block Island Wind Farm was the first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S. It was built from 2015-2016 and consists of five turbines.

This past September, a group of lawmakers, lobbyists, renewable energy proponents and others took a field trip off the coast of Rhode Island. They were en route to the Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s first offshore wind development. The array of five fixed turbines is modest in size compared to other projects envisioned off America’s coasts.

Completed in 2016, Block Island Wind required $300 million in initial investment and can power 17,000 homes. The farm replaced the diesel-powered generators that had previously powered Block Island; additional power is cabled to the mainland. The project has not been without its issues, including the need to rebury those cables. But the owner, Danish offshore wind company Ørsted, sees greater potential. The 65-turbine Revolution Wind project proposed by Ørsted and energy company Eversource in federal waters 12 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard cleared a major regulatory hurdle this month.

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