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America's First Offshore Wind Farm in Block Island Officially Opens

Dec 15, 2016 07:06 AM EST

Good news! Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., has officially started its operation, replacing 90 percent of the island's diesel-generated electricity to clean, renewable wind energy.

According to a report from Treehugger, the Block Island Wind Farm was initially planned to be a small installation back in its infancy in 2010. However, the plan grew over the years and now features five 6-MW Haliade wind turbines produced by GE.

The Haliade turbines found in Block Island Wind Farm is one of the largest wind turbines in the world. It measures 150 meters in diameter and 170 meters in height. These turbines are connected to mainland Rhode Island, which is three miles from the wind farm, via submarine transmission cables.

“Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – and I’m proud to be the only governor in America who can say we have steel in the water and blades spinning over the ocean,” Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo said in a press release. “As the Ocean State, we’re motivated by our shared belief that we need to produce and consume cleaner, more sustainable energy and leave our kids a healthier planet – but also by this tremendous economic opportunity. With this project, we’ve put hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports and are growing this innovative industry. I applaud Deepwater Wind for leading the way.”

Deepwater Wind, the project's developer, said the wind farm can provide power to 5.,000 homes with an estimated energy production of 125,000 MWh. The wind farm is one of upcoming wind farm offshore projects on the East Coast.

The construction of the wind farm will prove helpful to the island as it will eliminate around 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the area while the excess energy produced by the wind farm will go to the mainland.

“The Block Island Wind Farm is a symbol of Rhode Island’s national leadership in one of the most innovative industries in the country. As a nation, we have an obligation to respond to the threats posed by climate change, and off-shore wind energy promises to help us reduce our carbon pollution and create good-paying, sustainable jobs right here in Rhode Island," said Congressman David N. Cicilline.

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