Raimondo, builders tour Block Island wind farm equipment

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The nation’s first offshore wind farm is beginning to take shape off the coast of Block Island.

Last month, major pieces of the project arrived at ProvPort. On Monday, Eyewitness News Reporter Madeleine Wright got a tour of the equipment for the first time.

State Leaders were on hand to celebrate milestone; the wind farm is entering its third and final phase of construction. Deepwater Wind is installing five turbines off the coast of Block Island, which will provide 90% of the island’s power. The remaining 10% will be distributed on mainland Rhode Island.

“We’ve been working on getting this project going for over 10 years, and we’ve been in construction for two and to be here standing…is something a lot of us have looked forward to for a long time,” said Bryan Martin, chairman of Deepwater Wind.

State leaders, including Governor Gina Raimondo, got a look at the turbine blades, which will soon be added to the turbine foundation.

Meanwhile, the turbine engines are still on their way here from France.

“So what does that mean for Rhode Island,” Raimondo asked. “It means [a] cleaner source of energy, a lower cost of energy, a diversified energy supply. It means a lot of jobs.”

The project will bring about 300 construction jobs, according to Deepwater Wind, along with 50 permanent jobs in operation and maintenance.

“This is the way to rebuild our economy,” Gov. Raimondo said. “We cannot bring back old-fashioned manufacturing.”

The governor said innovation-based manufacturing is the wave of the future – and Rhode Island is paving the way. The $250 million project began last year, which included installing the foundation.

The wind turbines have a 20-year lifespan, at which point they’ll be taken down. At this time, it is unclear if they will be replaced.

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