Block Island, a small town with only 1,000 full-time, residents, is the site for a big project, when it will become home to Rhode Island’s first offshore wind farm.
Powerful ocean winds lie right off Block Island’s south shore. That’s the benefit of offshore wind farms — they can take advantage of the harder, stronger winds found a few miles off the coast Deepwater Wind LLC is leading the effort with plans to construct up to eight wind turbines three miles off of Block Island’s shore.
In addition, the company will construct 100 turbines 15 miles offshore. "Together the turbines will generate 1.3 million megawatt hours annually, which will provide 15 percent of Rhode Island’s electricity," says Deepwater Wind Chief Development Officer Paul Rich. It will also bring the state closer to reaching its benchmark of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.
The Block Island project, which will be completed by 2012, will be a significant milestone for residents.
Currently Block Island is powered by diesel electricity. The diesel must be shipped to the island by ferry, making their energy costs among the highest in the country. The wind farm will provide residents with an alternative, affordable, environmentally friendly electricity option. Says Rich, "The wind farm will provide clean renewable power but also a stable pricing option."