After several years and a few setbacks, the country's first offshore wind farm has begun generating electricity. The Block Island Wind Farm has gone live.
The Block Island Wind Farm consists of five 6-MW "Haliade" wind turbines made by GE. The wind farm will be able to provide 90 percent of the electricity needs of the island, located three miles off the coast of Rhode Island, replacing diesel generators the island's residents have relied on until now.
Construction began on the project last year, but plans for this wind farm were announced back in 2010. It was initially going to be a smaller installation that would act as a pilot project to prove the feasibility of offshore wind power in the area, but over the years the project involved into what it is today.Earlier in the year, Deepwater Wind, the developer of the wind farm, announced that it would be completed by the end of the year, and amazingly as far as clean energy projects go, it was completed with time to spare.
The Haliade turbines are some of the largest in the world with a diameter of 150 meters and a height of 170 meters. They are connected to the island and mainland Rhode Island by submarine transmission cables and will be able to produce 125,000 MWh of electricity, enough to power 5,000 homes. It will also eliminate 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Excess energy not used by Block Island will go the mainland grid.
While this wind farm is small in comparison to ones that have been built in Europe, Sami wrote this summer that this is just the start of things to come. Other offshore projects are being built and more are getting the green light to go ahead. Wind turbines will be a more common sight on the East Coast soon.
You can see highlights from the construction and how it looks from shore in the video here.