Offshore wind energy is popular in many parts of the world, but it’s never gained traction in the US. Now, a company called Deepwater Wind has announced that it’s secured full funding to build America’s first offshore wind farm, off of the coast of Rhode Island.
The project will see five floating 6 megawatt offshore wind turbines built just off the coast of the island. Producing 30 megawatts of energy total, undersea power cables will route the resulting electricity to both Rhode Island and the US mainland. Motherboard suggests that it could save locals as much as 40 per cent on their energy bills. The island currently relies on diesel generators for electricity.
Offshore wind does away with many of the concerns that residents have about wind power — those typically being over noise and the visual eyesore of the turbines. Offshore installations also typically produce more energy, because wind speeds are higher away from the shore. But building them is more complex and their location makes them difficult to maintain — making them far more expensive than their land-based counterparts.
Fortunately, the company secured a total of $US290 million to fund the new project. It will join similar farms that have been built extensively across Europe, particularly around the UK and Denmark. “We are on the cusp of bringing offshore wind from theory to reality in the US,” explained Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a press release. “We’re poised to launch a new American clean-tech industry.”
The turbines themselves are being made by Danish firm Alstom. Fabrication of their blades — 15 in total, with each turbine carrying three of them — has already begun. It’s hoped that offshore construction will begin in the summer, first with the foundations for each of the turbines. If all goes to plan, the far will begin supplying energy by the end of 2016. [Deepwater Wind via Motherboard]
Picture: Andy S-D/Flickr