With Europe and Asia leading in the race for offshore wind energy, the US is definitely lagging behind. In contrast to the thousands of megawatts generated by offshore wind turbines all around the world, America still has zero of those babies anywhere on its coasts. The first US offshore wind project is set to change all that, and it has a major update.
The Block Island Offshore Wind Project has just finished installation of the final blade in the five-turbine project, signalling the end of the construction phase of the project.
The project is on track, with previous projections predicting that construction will end by late August, and operations will formally begin by November. Once open, the project is expected to generate 30 MW, enough to power 17,000 homes.
The project is being undertaken by a partnership between off-shore wind energy group, Deepwater Wind, and General Electric. The project has a price tag of $300 million.
While this may signal a poor showing in America when it comes to renewables—nearly 39% of its energy portfolio is still coal— it does highlight the, admirable, increasing commitment of individual states like Rhode Island when it comes to green energy.
Rhode Island and Vermont are the two US states that have had no part of their electricity supplied by coal power plants, instead relying on natural gas and a push for renewable energy sources.
In fact, the whole New England area boasts a combined coal use lower than the 35 most coal-heavy states on their own. In 2014, only 4% of the region's electricity was from coal.
The New England states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is a program that sets limits on emissions by the power sector, and the fines they have to pay for exceeding them. This money flows towards renewable energy development. Its the most wonderful kind of Lose-Win scenario.