Irshad Salim — The United States got its first-ever offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island this summer (watch video below).
“We, the smallest town in the smallest state in the United States, have the very first offshore wind farm and we should be so proud,” said Nancy Dodge of the Block Island Power Company Board earlier this month.
Electric customers on the island in the northeast of US, will be saving money with wind power from the five offshore turbines spinning three miles off the island that started delivering electricity to the grid last week, reducing the community’s reliance on diesel generators. An undersea cable connects the turbines to the mainland, providing power to some 17,000 mainland homes.
“This is the start of something much bigger and we will always be able to say Block Island was the first,” added Jeffrey Grybowski of Deepwater Wind, the company leading the charge on the years long, multi-million dollar project — and that’s just the beginning.
Today, the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior announced a new strategy to tap into the massive potential for wind power along America’s eastern and western shores.
The National Offshore Wind Strategy could help enable 86 gigawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2050, which would support 160,000 jobs,
cut the power sector’s water consumption by 5 percent, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 percent.
According to several reports, wind turbine technician is the single fastest-growing occupation in America. Adding 25,000 new jobs last year, the U.S. wind industry now boasts 102,000 workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in the sector will grow 108% by 2024.
The Bureau’s statistics show more than 6 million Americans work in the energy sector, and clean energy jobs are on the rise. Other rapidly expanding fields include solar energy, which accounted for one out of every 50 new U.S. jobs in 2016, and the more than 259,000 men and women who work with alternative fuel vehicles.
The new wind energy strategy — part of former President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, envisaged creating jobs and cut carbon pollution by developing America’s clean energy resources. President Trump announced he plans to scale back the strategy in favor of boosting conventional energy sources specially coal.