Construction of the United States' first offshore wind farm go underway Monday in the state of Rhode Island.
The 30 MW wind farm is being developed by Deepwater Wind and will be located off the coast of Block Island, a small island in the Atlantic Ocean about 13 miles south of Rhode Island and 14 miles east of Montauk Point on Long Island.
Once completed, the five-turbine wind farm will produce enough energy to power all homes and businesses on Block Island, which previously relied on diesel generators. Additional electricity will be sent to utilities in Rhode Island.
Among those cheering the start of construction during a brief ceremony Monday was Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who said the start of construction signaled the birth of a new growth industry in the state.
" ... to be [home] to the first project of its kind in the country ... is an opportunity for us, the state of Rhode Island, to stake out real leadership," Raimondo said.
Raimondo said construction of the wind farm will create 300 construction jobs, and over time, diversify the state’s energy supplies and lower prices with clean, renewable sources.
But Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, was already looking beyond the state of a single project on Monday.
"This is the start of something much bigger," Grybowski said. "We believe offshore wind can power much of the [US] east coast, especially here in the Northeast, where wind is strong and other [energy] solutions are scarce."
It was only last month that Deepwater Wind announced it had secured $290 million in funding for the project.