The United States’ first off-shore green-energy project, Block Island Wind Farm, is nearing completion. It’s set to produce 30 megawatts of electricity at peak performance. The Rhode Island power grid is up for a big change.
Past attempts at offshore energy projects along the U.S. coastline were stalled due to bureaucratic resistance and soaring production costs.
Block Island Wind Farm is expected to cost about $300 million in construction alone. Expenses such as undersea cables, ocean floor studies, permits, and licenses will be added to the cost.
Deepwater Wind, who has been spearheading this project with some support from General Electric, is looking to our European neighbors for additional supplies. Companies such as Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems have produced larger offshore blades, gearboxes and other items for a number of years.
Energy production is currently set to begin on November 1, 2016. The five turbines, standing 589 feet tall and placed about a mile and half apart, should have their final bolts in place by the end of August. Located three miles off the Block Island coastline, the wind farm will help reduce electricity costs to Block Island residents by about 40 percent. The impact in increased energy surplus could travel as far as Florida.
As the diesel generators are shut down and moved out of commission, energy will be transported via undersea cable to Block Island. Excess power will be further transported back to mainland Rhode Island via another cable owned by National Grid. As a result, it’ll extend the power supplied along the New England Coastline.
In an interview with Newsday, Jeff Grybowski, the CEO of Deepwater Wind, said they’re looking to place another offshore wind farm about 15 miles east of the Block Island Wind Farm. He said they have the capacity to install over 200 turbines. The first 15 of those are expected to produce 90 megawatts of electricity for Long Island.
This proposed project called Deepwater One South Fork is still waiting for a wind energy blueprint from New York State. While Deepwater, G.E. and other similar companies look to the ever-expanding shoreline of opportunities, the government is struggling to catch up and meet energy need initiatives along with their constituents concerns. Deepwater One South Fork is currently estimated to cost $700 million if approved. It would require a 36-mile undersea cable.
In conclusion, there’s nowhere for the United States to go but forward into the expanding aspects of renewable energy. European offshore wind farms have already established a 25-year performance record of success in providing 11 Gigawatts of energy. That’s enough to potentially power over seven million homes. It looks like the U.S. is quickly going to catch up.
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Author: Angelique C.