A milestone for American renewable energy that has been almost a decade in the making is nearing completion off the coast of Rhode Island. The nation’s first offshore wind farm is now rising and is expected to be completed this fall. Look at the photos above to see details of its impressive construction.
The five-turbine, 30-megawatt project off the coast of Block Island is actually tiny compared to the 100-plus turbine farms that are common in Europe. What will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with 300 turbines and 1,800 megawatts, was just approved this week in the U.K. But America has been far slower to adopt offshore wind technology, with proposals stalled by regulators and lawsuits.
Deepwater Wind began construction on the Block Island Wind Farm in 2015. American companies, some from the oil and gas sector, built the foundations and laid undersea fiber cables. GE Renewable Energy is responsible for the turbines themselves, bringing the towers and blades from Europe, where they are made and assembled at a site in Providence over nine months. Each 650-foot-tall turbine has three blades, each weighing 29 tons each and longer than half a football field. The tower itself, broken into three sections, weighs 440 tons.
GE is out on ships now installing the wind turbine structures in a round-the-clock operation that they expect to last a total of about 25 days.