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  December 14th, 2016 | Written by

First Offshore Wind Farm in U.S. Powers Up

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  • The Block Island Wind Farm is now operational.
  • First offshore wind farm to deliver energy to the U.S. power grid.
  • Four separate Rhode Island ports were used to complete the wind farm’s construction.

The Block Island Wind Farm has completed its commissioning and testing phases and begun commercial operations, delivering electricity into the regional New England grid.

Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project’s five offshore wind turbines, tested the installation for four months. The project’s crew transfer vessel, the Rhode Island-built Atlantic Pioneer, transported technicians to the wind farm around the clock.

This milestone concludes the successful two-year offshore installation of the wind farm, which Deepwater Wind completed on-time and on-budget. More than 300 local workers helped develop, build, and commission the project. Deepwater Wind utilized four separate Rhode Island port facilities—ProvPort, Quonset Point, Galilee, and Block Island—to complete the wind farm’s staging, construction and commissioning over the last two years.

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo, a Democrat, described the wind farm as a “tremendous economic opportunity.” “With this project,” she added, “we’ve put hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports and are growing this innovative industry.”

Deepwater Wind’s supplier and construction partners included GE Renewable Energy, Gulf Island Fabrication, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, LM Windpower and LS Cable, Montco Offshore, and Weeks Marine.

The project’s investors include Deepwater Wind’s principal owner, an affiliate of the D.E. Shaw group, Citi, and GE Energy Financial Services, along with lenders Societe Generale, KeyBank, HSBC, SMBC, Cobank, and La Caixa.

“America’s first offshore wind farm was built thanks to the ingenuity, innovation, investment, and collaboration of many people working together,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat and co-sponsor of the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act. “These five massive turbines spinning above the ocean are technological marvels and a tribute to the outstanding work of our laborers, trade unions, engineers, and clean energy technicians. I hope that in addition to providing clean, renewable energy, the offshore wind model we’ve put in place here can generate more wind projects and good-paying jobs.”

“We’ve made history here in the Ocean State, but our work is far from over,” concluded Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “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.”