On June 25, my colleagues, Jessica Russo and Marc Boom, and I were lucky to be invited on a tour of first offshore wind project in U.S. waters, the Block Island Project, which is now owned by Orsted. The tour was organized by the National Wildlife Federation and the BlueGreen Alliance, and they invited representatives from unions and environmental non-profits such as NRDC.
It was a beautiful day with just a little fog on the horizon, which only served to make spotting the wind turbines more exciting. I’ve had the good fortune to visit a number of land-based wind farms and have always found wind turbines equally stunningly large and stunningly graceful.
To me, wind turbines are a beautiful statement of human ingenuity and hope for our future—a sort of kinetic sculpture. Hearing the union representatives talk about building the Block Island project and the huge potential they see for good paying jobs reinforced my enthusiasm for these magnificent machines.
The funny thing about offshore wind turbines is that it’s hard to get a point of reference for how big they are. At one point I got a picture of a crew transfer vessel bobbing near the base of one of the turbines, but my eyes kept telling me that the 40-foot boat was probably just a toy.
The turbines are big, and they produce a lot of electricity. My colleague Kit Kennedy wrote about the project shortly after it became operational. But for a fact-filled and beautiful look at the project, check out the infographic and painting, Jessica did based on our tour. The painting is of a bubble curtain, which is as the name suggests, a curtain of bubbles that ring the project used during construction of most offshore wind turbines to reduce the noise from pounding the pile into the ground. (For more on the importance and range of options for quieter installation, check out this blog by NRDC’s right whale expert, Francine Kershaw.)