Offshore Wind Powers Local Jobs

Today we continue to applaud the remarkable commitment and ingenuity that is launching America’s offshore wind power industry — a model to remind leaders all along the coast what is possible and why it’s worth pursuing.

In the early days of their project, Deepwater Wind made a promise to Rhode Islanders that the Block Island Wind Farm, which broke ground last month, would be a source of pride and enduring reward for the Ocean State. They promised to hear from community members, and to survey, site, and build the project with the highest standards of wildlife protection in place every step of the way. They promised to do as much as possible to put Rhode Islanders to work building the nation’s first offshore wind power project.

block island wind farm
Three Rhode Island companies: Deepwater Wind, Blount Boats, and Rhode Island Fast Ferry, joined for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the stern of the first-ever U.S. flagged offshore wind crew transfer vessel. Photo credit: NWF
This morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Blount Boats, a long-time, family-owned business in Warren, RI, was a perfect illustration of Deepwater Wind’s honored commitment to putting Rhode Islanders to work. Leaders gathered at the stern of what will soon be  America’s first offshore wind power support vessel. The 69-foot aluminum catamaran will run year-round, transporting operations and maintenance crew to and from the Block Island Wind Farm. Rhode Island Fast Ferry will own and operate the vessel per a 20-year contract with Deepwater Wind.

The ceremony drew U.S. Senators Reed and Whitehouse, Rep. Langevin, RI Commerce Secretary Pryor, several state and local officials, and local supporters of the project. Rhode Island pride filled the air: pride in the success of a true public-private partnership, pride in Rhode Island businesses supporting one another, and pride in the tangible product of such collaboration.

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The event tent adorned with images of the finished product, giving context to the pieces attendees toured. Photo credit: NWF
One by one, each speaker underscored just how proud they are of what Rhode Island is accomplishing and the confidence it grants them moving forward.

“We plan on being the most experienced wind farm support company in the country.” – Charlie Donadio, President, Rhode Island Fast Ferry

block island wind farm
Under the catamaran, Blount’s construction team guided officials through the details of the crew transfer vessel. Photo credit: NWF
This story is one that needs to cross state borders and extend along the Atlantic Coast. The Block Island Wind Farm is an example of what can and must happen — a growth opportunity that states can continue to capitalize on.

With more than 80 offshore wind farms up and running in Europe and a world-class (yet untapped) offshore wind resource off the U.S. Atlantic Coast, there is ample reason to believe that the Block Island Wind Farm will be the start of a booming national energy industry.

“This is truly a vessel to the future.” – RI Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor

Three companies hold leases to large areas for offshore wind development far off of southern New England– areas with the potential to provide clean, home-grown offshore wind power to millions of homes and businesses throughout New England and New York. A recently introduced state policy in Massachusetts could clear the way for construction to begin in those larger areas in the near future.

“There are many opportunities for the Ocean State to be a driving force in this new American industry.” – Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski

There was a beautiful seamlessness to today’s event. The nod to Rhode Island’s history as a leader in marine industries chimed the bells of tradition while marking the launch of something refreshingly new and endlessly important. Now, let’s spread the word and inspire every coastal state to reach for their potential and write their own version of this story.

Take ActionLet your leaders know you support a robust offshore wind power industry for America!