The first offshore wind farm in the United States began producing electricity on Monday, ushering in a new era for renewable energy in the country.
Deepwater Wind built five turbines about three miles off the coast of Block Island, enough to power about 17,000 homes.
"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 as the $300 million project became operational.
Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project's five offshore wind turbines, put the wind farm through its paces during a four-month testing period that began last summer.
The project's crew transfer vessel, the Rhode Island-built Atlantic Pioneer, transported technicians to the wind farm around the clock. Monday's milestone concludes the successful two-year offshore installation of the wind farm, which Deepwater Wind says was completed on time and on budget.
More than 300 local workers helped develop, build and commission the project, and the effort utilized four different Rhode Island port facilities to complete the wind farm's staging, construction and commissioning.
National Grid is buying the energy produced by the turbines, bringing it to the mainline using its new sea2shore submarine transmission cable system.
"We've made history here in the Ocean State, but the 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."