1st US offshore wind farm ramps up - Smart Energy Decisions

Regulation, Wind  -  December 14, 2016

1st US offshore wind farm begins operations

The country's first offshore wind farm is now operational, the project's developer, Deepwater Wind, announced Dec. 12. 

Located off the coast of Rhode Island, the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm began delivering energy to the grid through National Grid's "sea2shore" submarine transmission cable system. The five-turbine wind farm's installation took about two years with a price tag of approximately $300 million. 

The milestone came after Deepwater received the green light from the regional grid operator indicating that the wind farm could operate at full power and be integrated with the grid without causing disruptions, the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal reported Dec. 12. The successful completion of the project sets the stage for future offshore projects in the U.S., according to industry observers. 

The local newspaper noted that the projects first weeks and months of operation will be closely monitored: 

A wall-mounted monitor in Deepwater's offices gives real-time status updates on the turbines to company employees ... Deepwater has also hired Duke Energy Renewables to keep an eye on things around the clock from an operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Duke's main job will be liaising with ISO-NE and responding to any requests from the agency. General Electric will also be observing 24/7 from offices in Schenectady, New York, and Germany. Its focus will be on ensuring peak operation of the turbines. Workers can tweak systems online or send any of the 6 to 12 GE technicians based in the Quonset Business Park out by boat to service the wind farm.


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