Rhode Island Gets Close Look at What Will Be Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Jul 26, 2016

"Being first means that we are going to be able to create more of these jobs. We’re going to be valued for our expertise."
Gina Raimondo

At a private tour at ProvPort, state officials got a close look at blades that will eventually spin at the Block Island Wind Farm, contracted to the company Deepwater Wind.

The 15 blades are each more than 240 feet long and weigh an impressive 29 tons. Several tower components of the five-turbine project have also arrived at ProvPort.

“Those 15 towers collectively are about 260 feet tall and weigh about 450 tons,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski. “You get the idea that this is a really big, complicated construction project.”

More than 300 local workers have been hired to help build the project. Two out of the three main construction phases are complete: the foundations were installed last summer and National Grid completed installing the underwater transmission cable last week.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said she’s proud of Rhode Island for building the nation’s first offshore wind farm “because being first means that we are going to be able to create more of these jobs. We’re going to be valued for our expertise. This is the way to rebuild our economy. We cannot bring back low-tech, old-fashion manufacturing.”  

The governor said the project will also help produce cleaner, and ultimately, more affordable energy.

Some of the tower components of the Block Island Wind Farm.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Grybowski expects the remaining components for the wind farm to arrive in Newport by the end of the month.

“And in early August we will start the final installation,” said Grybowski, “and it will only take about a month to get that done. So by early September the first offshore wind farm in the United States will be ready to start spinning its blades.”

He added the wind farm is paving a path for larger offshore wind projects proposed in New York and Massachusetts. 

This post was originally published on Rhode Island Public Radio.