Welders have started to build parts for a wind energy facility off the coast of Block Island. It’s on track to be the country’s first offshore wind farm. State leaders were on hand for the start of construction today (Monday). Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza says they are calling it a great day for Rhode Island and the nation.
Deepwater Wind says the Block Island Wind Farm project will employ more than 300 construction workers in the state. They will be involved in everything from building the foundation to assembling the turbines to laying the transmission cables.
Gov. Gina Raimondo thinks the project represents the state’s potential to create jobs “in a new industry, in a growth industry, to be a first in the country of its kind—first project of its kind in the country,” she said. “And it’s an opportunity for us, the state of Rhode Island, to stake out real leadership, you know, real leadership in this growing industry.”
Raimondo said over time, the wind farm will help diversify the state’s energy supplies and lower prices with clean, renewable sources.
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said the turbines off the coast of Block Island are just the beginning.
"This is the start of something much bigger, because we do think offshore wind can power much of the East Coast, here in the Northeast in particular, where the wind is strong and the solutions are scarce,” said Grybowski. “And we could start doing it right here in the Ocean State, a state with a proud history in the marine trade."
Grybowski said growing an offshore wind industry will not happen overnight. That's why Deepwater Wind has partnered Rhode Island companies with global industry leaders to learn the trade and establish the industry in the state.
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