Unlocking the Potential of Offshore Wind Power
Off the coast of Rhode Island, America’s first offshore wind farm is under development. The turbines are scheduled to start turning by the end of this year, creating pollution-free energy that will be used to power homes and businesses on Block Island as well as the mainland. This will eliminate the need for the community to transport diesel fuel, its current (and dirty and expensive) source of power, to the island.
This is an important milestone – but as The Huffington Post point out here, the Block Island project is only the beginning. The Obama Administration’s Smart from the Start initiative aims to designate areas up and down the East Coast for offshore wind projects, and build support in coastal communities for responsible clean energy solutions. One out of three Americans lives on the Eastern Seaboard, so the potential to cut carbon pollution and reduce energy costs is enormous.
What’s needed now is for federal, state, and local leaders to enact strong policies to ensure that these projects come to fruition. The advantages of clean energy are clear, and the sooner we embrace it, the better off we’ll be.
By Rob Sargent, contributor to The Huffington Post
Looking across the calm, smooth Atlantic waters from the docks of the small island town of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, it may be hard to tell, but preparations are well underway for the nation’s first offshore wind farm to begin operating here before the year ends.
Last fall, wind developers laid five foundations for the turbines that will spin in the Atlantic Ocean, three miles southeast of Block Island and east of Long Island.
Last week, officials held the latest in a series of community meetings to discuss the action expected in the months ahead. At the moment, the focus is preparing the way for the 20-mile cable that will distribute power from the DeepWater Wind turbines to the mainland.
“We’ve talked about this project for a while, and now we’re going to start impacting the island. We’re almost ready to put shovels in the ground,” said Kathryn Cox-Arslan of National Grid, the company who’s installing and will operate the cable, according to the Block Island Times.
Block Island is perfectly suited for offshore wind. The turbines are located in a renewable energy zone designated by the state of Rhode Island several years ago.
Image credit: Stanford University