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Foundations for First U.S. Offshore Wind Power Towed to Construction Site

Last week the foundations for five wind turbines were towed into place off Block Island, 13 miles east of Rhode Island in the Atlantic Ocean. Scheduled to go online in 2016, they will be the first offshore wind turbines in the United States.
July 29, 2015, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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While the 30 megawatt, five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm may pale in comparison to the 130 turbines planned for Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound, a project that has received far greater attention but remains stalled, the importance of this event can not be overstated. Construction began Monday, reports Maritime Executive.

"It’s a moment that its supporters have long anticipated, billing it as nothing less than the dawn of a new clean energy future for the United States, which lags Europe and China in harnessing ocean gusts for electricity," writes Diane Cardwell, Business Day reporter for The New York Times, on what will be "the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm."

Deepwater Wind, the company that is developing the farm, is pressing ahead. It holds a 30-year lease on a parcel in federal waters nearby — about 256 square miles about 15 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard — with room for as many as 250 turbines.

In addition to that site, known as Deepwater One, the company has plans for a site off the New Jersey coast, known as Garden State Offshore Energy, for 200 turbines generating one gigawatt of energy. That project should not be confused with the much smaller Fishermen’s Energy project off the Jersey coast that remains stalled.

For the United States to catch up to other countries like Denmark, which opened the world's first offshore wind farm in 1991, "stable subsidies and mandates — and coordination among the states," will be required, warned policy experts and business executives, or "offshore wind development will be limited to a few small demonstration projects," writes Cardwell.

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Published on Thursday, July 23, 2015 in The New York Times - Business Day
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