America’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Published on June 24th, 2015

What lurks beyond the race course at the biennial Block Island Race Week might soon become a history making moment for the venue and future events, according to Sailors for the Sea

The foundations for America’s first offshore wind power project will be installed three miles off the southeast bluff of Block Island in the coming months, putting the project on track to generate energy for the entire island in 2016 and beyond.

The Block Island Wind Farm will relieve a community in need of a new energy story. Every year, Block Island uses one million gallons of diesel fuel, sent via ferry, to run the generator that fully supports their electric grid. And as a result, locals endure some of the highest electric rates in the country.

The costly and inefficient operation spikes the cost of every facet of life on Block Island. And the constant pollution and looming risk of a fuel spill endangers the pristine and otherwise protected resources that attract thousands of tourists every summer.

The 5 state-of-the-art offshore wind turbines will produce 30 megawatts of clean energy powering approximately 17,000 homes. The project will connect Block Island to the mainland for the first time and reduce local electric rates by more than 40 percent.

Most notably, the Block Island Wind Farm is a pilot project. One-third of the US Population lives along the Atlantic Coastline – making it easy to get clean energy to 106 million people if this technology is further developed. Ramping up offshore wind power offers a clear opportunity to reduce local pollution as well as energy prices.

For example, the 2014 analysis of bringing 1,200 MW of offshore wind power to New England found that local carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by over 3 million tons annually!

We have reason to believe this one small project will be a catalyst for something much larger – so as ocean users, we ought to learn about what’s on deck!

Additional details here.

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