Work Starts on First U.S. Offshore Wind FarmEngineering360 News Desk | April 29, 2015
The wind farm, which is being developed by Deepwater Wind, is located off the coast of Block Island, an island about 13 miles south of Rhode Island. Once completed, the five-turbine, 30 megawatt wind farm is expected to produce enough energy to power all homes and businesses on Block Island. The project begins operations in 2016 as reported by thinkprogress.org.
The offshore wind industry has been slow to take off in the U.S. compared with onshore wind and solar, which is less expensive to develop. Europe, in contrast, has a robust offshore wind industry. Combined, the EU countries are reported to have the most installed wind power capacity in the world, with 2,080 offshore turbines as of 2014.
Offshore wind has a few key environmental concerns, including the impact that noise from construction and installation has on whales and other marine life. Concerns also exist around offshore wind's impact on birds, bats and the seafloor itself.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opened up 742,000 acres of ocean to offshore wind developers, and two of the four parcels of land were purchased by bidders.