The American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition was held in Rhode Island this week, anticipating the first generation of electricity from the country’s first ever offshore wind farm.
Rhode Island is home to Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, a 30 MW offshore wind farm which will be the first ever in the country. Upon completion, the farm will generate enough electricity to power 17,000 average US homes and offset 121,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, but it is the hope that it is the first of many offshore wind farms that has raised the spirits of the industry.
“We’re competitive here in Rhode Island, and we take a great deal of pride in knowing that we beat every other state to be the first with steel in the water and blades over the ocean,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and newly named Chair of the Governors Wind and Solar Energy Coalition (GWSC). “We have new opportunities to make things again, to be a leader in a new industrial revolution. We’re motivated by our shared belief that we need to produce and consume cleaner, more sustainable energy and leave our kids a healthier planet. But we’re also motivated by this tremendous economic opportunity.”
Rhode Island is not just home to the Block Island Wind Farm, either, as earlier this year Rhode Island passed legislation to increase the state’s renewable energy target from 14.5% by 2019 to nearly 40% by 2035. Further, recent projections from the Wind Energy Foundation suggested that a growth in wind power in Rhode Island could lead to $240 million in electricity bill savings by 2050.
As such, it made perfect sense that Rhode Island would host this year’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition.
“We’re proud to host AWEA here in Rhode Island, home to America’s first offshore wind farm,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind. “AWEA’s important work is critical to the growth of our industry. While the Block Island Wind Farm may have jumpstarted this new US industry, we’re confident that it’s just the start of a much larger renewable energy sector that will power American communities for decades to come.”
“Worldwide leaders are sensing and seeing the opportunity here in the US,” added Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.
“There’s unprecedented excitement in the industry, it’s palpable, and you can see it here with the increase in the number of attendees and exhibitors. The completion of the Block Island Wind Farm is far more than just a ribbon-cutting — it is the dawn of an entirely new source of US energy. Thanks to strong political leadership, strong policies and an innovative industry, we’re seeing a pathway forward for offshore American wind power.”