NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island made history as the first state in the nation to build an offshore wind farm, but a new one is set to be 20 times that size.
Expected off the coast of Point Judith, the roughly 100-turbine wind farm will generate 704 megawatts, enough to power more than 350,000 homes, with the majority in Rhode Island.
On Thursday, Gov. Dan McKee toured the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown as workers began the process of laying down cable.
He sees the large-scale wind farm as part of the state’s goal to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2033.
“We’re one of 13 founding states in this country in the American Revolution, we were in the Industrial Revolution, and now we’re in the wind revolution,” McKee said.
Steven King, the managing director of the Quonset Development Corporation, said they’ll be putting down 15 miles of cable offshore, then connecting the wind power to land.
“The cable is going to run a mile under the business park over to where Eversource is going to build a brand new substation that will connect into Rhode Island Energy,” King explained.
King said the cable-laying process is expected to take four to six months, depending on the weather, with the the turbines up and running by late 2025.
From there, King told 12 News the clean power will go to homes across the state.
While offshore wind farms have been around for decades in Europe, the industry is just gaining strength in New England.
In 2016, Rhode Island made history with Orsted’s construction of the Block Island wind farm, which was just five turbines at the time.
This second project will also be handled by Orsted. Chief operating officer Troy Patton said Rhode Island is laying out the map to show how other states can bring offshore wind to their coasts.
“We celebrated five years at Block Island very recently, and really we’ve shown the way with that construction both for federal leaders and for state how it can be done, and we’re doubling down on that commitment with Revolution Wind,” Patton said.
New Bedford is also cashing in on the offshore wind industry, as parts move through the port to construct a wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
Vineyard Wind is in the process of constructing another large-scale wind farm, which is supposed to supply power to about 400,000 homes.