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It’s up and running: First U.S. offshore wind farm comes online

The Block Island wind farm is now sending power to the grid.
It’s up and running: First U.S. offshore wind farm comes online
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It’s now official: America’s first offshore wind farm is sending clean energy to the grid in Block Island and mainland Rhode Island.

Although construction finished earlier this year, Deepwater Wind’s Block Island wind farm has been undergoing testing since September. That’s now finished, and the project will begin generating enough electricity to power 17,000 homes.

When Rhode Island homes and businesses turned on their lights, they became the first Americans to make use of an entirely new homegrown energy source. The door is now open to an ocean energy resource with vast potential. Harnessing offshore wind’s power at scale will mean thousands of well-paying jobs and billions of dollars of private investment in U.S. shipping and infrastructure.

“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,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski.

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed seconded the positivity, saying “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.”

Another 13 offshore wind projects on both coasts and in the Great Lakes remain under various stages of development, meaning others will soon follow Block Island’s trailblazing path. While we wait for the next announcement, here’s a look at what the project means for the Rhode Islanders using its electricity.

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Nancy Sopko is the Director of Offshore Wind and Federal Legislative Affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. In this role, Nancy is the lead on offshore wind issues for the association and focuses on building the political power of wind by increasing the level of engagement between AWEA’s member companies and Members of Congress and the administration. Before joining AWEA, Nancy worked at Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation advocacy organization, where she focused on promoting offshore wind development. Nancy also worked as Legislative Counsel for the Hon. John H. Adler (NJ-03) (deceased), the New Jersey State Legislature, and is a licensed attorney in the state of New Jersey.

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