NEW LONDON, Conn. — Despite some recent financial setbacks, U.S. offshore wind power has hit a milestone. An 800-foot-tall turbine is now sending electricity onto the grid from a commercial-scale offshore wind farm on pace to be the country’s first.
The moment is years in the making and at the same time a modest advance in what experts say needs to be a major build-out of this type of clean electricity to address climate change.
Danish wind energy developer Ørsted and the utility Eversource announced Wednesday the first electricity from what will be a 12-turbine wind farm called South Fork Wind 35 miles east of Montauk Point, N.Y. It will be New York’s first offshore wind farm.
Ørsted and Eversource met Wednesday with New York officials to celebrate this “first power” milestone, in East Hampton, N.Y., where the wind farm connects to the onshore electric grid. They say the achievement builds a foundation for other large United States offshore wind farms that will follow.
So far, two of the 11-megawatt turbines are up. The second is undergoing testing, then it can begin producing power too. When the other ten are spinning and South Fork opens by early next year, it will be able to generate 132 megawatts of offshore wind energy to power more than 70,000 homes.
The first power announcement is “an incredible moment in the American clean energy story,” said Stephanie McClellan, executive director of the nonprofit Turn Forward, which advocates for offshore wind. She said South Fork will be a source of clean, reliable, domestically-produced energy.