Offshore wind energy is popular in many parts of the world, but it's never gained traction in the U.S.. Now, a company called Deepwater Wind has announced that it's secured full funding to build America's first offshore wind farm.
The project will see five floating 6 megawatt offshore wind turbines built just off the coast of Rhode Island. Producing 30 megawatts of energy total, undersea power cables will route the resulting electricity to both the island and the U.S. mainland where some of it will be injected into the grid. Motherboard suggests that it could save locals on the island as much as 40 percent on their energy bills, because they currently rely on diesel generators for electricity.
Offshore wind farms do away with many of the concerns that residents have about onshore 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 typically higher out at sea. But building them is more complex and their location makes them difficult to care for—making them far more expensive than their land-based counterparts.
Fortunately, the company secured a total of $290 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 U.S.," 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 start in the summer, first with the foundations for each of the turbines. If all goes to plan, the farm will begin to supply energy by the end of 2016. [Deepwater Wind via Motherboard]
Image by Andy S-D under Creative Commons license