At long last, there's some great, game-changing news out today about offshore wind power in America. The innovative technology, which provides more than 8,000 megawatts of electricity in Europe alone, will soon be moving off of US drawing boards and into the water here, with Deepwater Wind's announcement that its 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, to be developed off the coast of Rhode Island, has reached its financing targets of more than $290 million. Block Island Wind will be the first U.S. offshore wind power project to begin construction. Support comes from Cleveland-based KeyBank and France's Societe Generale. The project is expected to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2016.
After securing more than $290 million in financing, the Block Island Wind Farm, off the Rhode Island coast, has become the first US offshore wind power project to move off of the drawing boards and into construction. (photo credit: Andreas Klinke Johannsen)
This news is a major milestone, showing that European offshore wind power know-how can be combined with U.S. ingenuity and determination in financing, construction and public policy, to finally bring this powerful technology to U.S. shores. As it scales up, offshore wind power can create thousands of jobs, provide pollution-free power when we need it most, and assure consumers the benefits of stable, long-term energy prices.
KeyBank, recently recognized as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the country, is a pioneer in this field, becoming the first U.S. bank to invest in offshore wind power for our country. "We are pleased to provide financing for the first offshore wind project to be fully financed in the U.S., and look forward to working with Deepwater on future, transformative projects," says KeyBank's Capital Markets Utilities, Power and Renewables Group head, Andrew Redinger.
Construction for the project is already underway. Work on the turbines' foundation began in January, at Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma, Louisiana. Rhode Island's Specialty Diving Services will begin additional fabrication work in the coming weeks.
There are at least five offshore wind power projects in advanced stages of development here in the U.S. With the right federal and state policies in place, we can celebrate more clean-power milestones and help Block Island Wind become only the first of many offshore wind power projects that power our cities, towns and businesses.