Deepwater Wind on Dec. 12 announced that the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm project has completed its commissioning and testing phases and began commercial operations, marking the startup of the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States.
Electricity generated from Block Island will serve National Grid’s New England service territory through National Grid’s new sea2shore submarine transmission cable system.
The system includes approximately 20 miles of submarine cable, five miles of underground cable, and two new substations—one on Block Island and one in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
The commercial startup was praised by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) other renewable energy advocates.
Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project’s five offshore wind turbines, put the wind farm through its paces during the four-month testing period. The project’s crew transfer vessel, the Rhode Island-built Atlantic Pioneer, transported technicians to the wind farm around the clock.
The historic milestone concludes the successful two-year offshore installation of the wind farm, which Deepwater Wind completed on-time and on-budget. More than 300 local workers helped develop, build and commission this historic project, Deepwater said in a news release.
Deepwater Wind’s supplier and construction partners included GE Renewable Energy, Gulf Island Fabrication, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, LM Windpower and LS Cable, Montco Offshore, and Weeks Marine.
The project’s investors include Deepwater Wind’s principal owner, an affiliate of the D.E. Shaw group, Citi, and GE Energy Financial Services, along with lenders Societe Generale, KeyBank, HSBC, SMBC, Cobank, and La Caixa.