Construction on a new offshore wind farm called "Revolution Wind" is expected to create more than 800 jobs in the Ocean State. The project is also expected to provide affordable, clean energy for ratepayers.
Last week, Rhode Island selected a proposal from Deepwater Wind, developer of the nation's first offshore wind farm near Block Island, to build a 50-turbine wind farm in federal waters more than 15 miles south of the mainland.
Revolution Wind would be ten times bigger than the Block Island wind farm and would be capable of powering up to half the homes in Rhode Island.
"We'll need 800 local workers to help us build this project, direct, local construction jobs," Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, said at ProvPort Wednesday during a jobs announcement for the project .
Governor Gina Raimondo said the state knows from experience with the Block Island wind farm that the new project will also create hundreds of indirect jobs.
However, only about 50 jobs will be permanent.
Grybowski said Deepwater Wind plans to invest $250 million to develop the wind farm. Of that amount, $40 million will go toward improving port infrastructure in Providence and Quonset to better-accommodate the offshore wind industry.
During the announcement, Grybowski also promised affordable clean energy rates for Rhode Islanders.
Right now, customers on Block Island are paying 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour for the energy coming from the wind farm about three miles off the island's coast.
However, Grybowski said power from Revolution Wind will be much cheaper.
"It will be dramatically lower than any price that anyone has seen for offshore wind in the United States today," he said.
Grybowski added the price will be competitive with traditional sources of energy because of the large scale of the project and new technology that makes the turbines more efficient.
The exact rate, which has not been revealed, is pending negotiations between Deepwater Wind and National Grid, according to state officials.
Concerns about the commercial fishing industry were raised during the announcement as well.
Grybowski said the turbines will be spaced about a mile a part, which should give fishermen enough room to continue to operate.
"But in order for that to work out, we need to work collaboratively with them so they understand what a good practice is and what a good practice isn't and we can understand from their perspective what we might be able to do a little differently to help them in their business," he said.
Revolution Wind is expected to cost more than $1 billion to build, compared to the $330 million it cost to construct the Block Island wind farm.
Deepwater Wind plans to raise the money from investors and does not plan on taking advantage of state tax incentives or state tax credits to support the project.
Construction of Revolution Wind is expected to begin in 2020. Trubines could be spinning as early as 2023.