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From Site Selection magazine, May 2023

Clean Energy Is A Breeze

New England states revolutionize power resources, bringing new investment out to sea.

Revolution Wind and its proposed counterpart will join Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm.
Photo courtesy of Ørsted

by Alexis Elmore

lobal energy leader Ørsted and New England’s largest electric services provider, Eversource, are transforming the future of energy resources, while streamlining the region’s zealous renewable and zero-carbon energy goals.

Revolution Wind, their joint venture project, was introduced to Rhode Island in 2019. Ørsted brought America’s first offshore wind farm, the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm, to Rhode Island seven years ago, operated by just five wind turbines. This new move establishes the state’s second offshore wind farm, and a regional energy center that would benefit neighboring Connecticut.

Construction on the site, located 15 miles south of Rhode Island and 32 miles southeast of Connecticut, began in 2021. The project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2023. 

“The project will be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in both Rhode Island and Connecticut,” says Meaghan Wims, spokesperson for Revolution Wind. “As for its specific size, Revolution Wind will provide 704 megawatts of renewable energy to Rhode Island and Connecticut, enough to provide electricity for more than 350,000 households across the two states.”

Rhode Island will receive 400 MW and Connecticut will get the rest. 

The companies are investing in port infrastructure for both states, which has created over 1,200 total construction jobs. Connecticut received $77.5 million for redevelopment of its New London State Pier for a heavy-lift cargo and deepwater port. Meanwhile, $40 million is dispersed among Rhode Island’s State Pier, ProvPort and Quonset Point ports for improvements. Revolution Wind’s long-term operations will be run from Quonset, creating 50 permanent jobs.

“The projects touch various parts of the country, thus creating economic opportunities around the United States,” says Wims.

This wind farm will be the third project the two companies have pursued together, joining two locations in New York: South Fork Wind (130 MW by 2023) and Sunrise Wind (924 MW by 2025). But it certainly will not be the last offshore location to join the portfolio. In March 2023, the JV announced its proposal for Revolution Wind 2, to be located in Rhode Island.

“Offshore wind is one of our state’s most abundant natural resources,” said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee last year. “Adding offshore wind clean energy capacity is essential for meeting our new 100% renewable energy by 2033 goal and our Act on Climate emissions reductions target. It will not only be beneficial for the environment, but also create hundreds of jobs as we position Rhode Island as an economic hub of this growing offshore wind industry on the Atlantic Coast.”

If approved, the proposed Revolution Wind 2 will create an 884-MW wind farm with the potential to power 500,000 homes. The project lands on the higher end of Governor McKee’s solicitation for between 600 to 1,000 MW of wind procurement — an amount that would meet 30% of Rhode Island’s 2030 energy demand. 

It will also bring further investment into Quonset Point. The JV will spend $35 million to bring a Regional Offshore Wind Logistics and Operations hub to the port, while creating new jobs to support new infrastructure construction at ProvPort.

“This project should prove to other states that making offshore wind a priority will bring jobs, economic opportunity and clean energy,” says Wims. 

More Than Martha’s Vineyard

Massachusetts will also be introducing its own large-scale wind farm this year. Vineyard Wind will be the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

A joint venture between Avangrid Renewables (part of Iberdrola Group) and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, the massive 62-turbine project will produce 800 MW of electricity with the potential to power 400,000 Massachusetts homes and businesses.

“Not many countries have the ambition to launch their first project at a scale that will power 400,000 homes and create 3,600 jobs,” said Ignacio Galán, chairman of AVANGRID, Inc. “Our offshore developments in New England and North Carolina/Virginia could represent a total investment well above $15 billion in the coming years.”

As the project nears completion a report compiled by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Springline Research Group showed it has surpassed initial projections related to job creation and economic output. The data show the estimated 274 construction jobs has instead totaled 666 union and non-union employees. Total economic output has amounted to an additional $85 million. 

Alexis Elmore
Associate Editor of Site Selection magazine

Alexis Elmore

Alexis Elmore joined Conway Data in 2022 as associate editor for Site Selection. A 2021 graduate of the University of Georgia, she studied journalism and communications before moving back to Atlanta to pursue her career. As an editor for Site Selection and contributor to Conway's Custom Content guides, she writes about economic development efforts and corporate growth happening around the globe.


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