The nation’s first offshore wind project, located in Rhode Island in waters off Block Island, began generating electricity yesterday, officially launching a clean energy technology that has the potential to power millions of U.S. homes and businesses while further bolstering America’s domestic wind energy industry.
“Today’s launch of America’s first offshore wind project epitomizes the clean energy future that’s already here. By harnessing our nation’s abundant offshore winds, we can create tens of thousands of homegrown clean energy jobs, lower electric bills and generate pollution-free energy. Strong state and federal policies helped bring us to this day, and they need to continue so we can further grow the U.S. offshore wind industry and deliver cleaner air to all Americans, ” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
There are at least 10 additional offshore wind power projects in development and with the right policies, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that potential exists for 86 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity by 2050, which is enough to power 31 million homes (by 2050). Meanwhile, the rapidly advancing onshore wind industry provided almost 5 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2015. Iowa and Texas have both nearly doubled their wind generation over the past five years, for example. The cost of generating electricity from new land-based turbines has fallen 61 percent since 2009 and onshore wind capacity, alone, is expected to grow by 70 percent by 2021 as a result of the federal tax credit extensions and other policies.