The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. went into operation Monday just off the coast of Block Island, R.I.
The five-turbines, owned by Deepwater Wind, an offshore wind-farm company, can power 17,000 homes. It likely will be followed by other offshore wind farm projects in the Great Lakes and off the West Coast, according to the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group.
Deepwater Wind also is planning to build a utility-scale offshore wind farm off the New York coast of Long Island. Construction is expected to start in 2019.
Offshore wind farms usually provide more power in the afternoons, when energy demand is at its highest, , according to the American Wind Energy Association. Land-based operations, on the other hand, tend to be most productive at night when demand is lower.
The association and Deepwater Wind heralded the wind farm’s first operational day as a significant step for renewable energy development.
“We’ve jump-started a new energy industry here in the U.S. with tremendous support of the Block Island community, state and federal officials, and a number of U.S. supply chain partners who see offshore wind as a new opportunity for their business,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski, in a statement.