Block Island receives wind power for first time

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 11:30am

History was made on Wednesday when Block Island received wind-generated power from the Block Island Wind Farm for the very first time. According to the Block Island Power Company, the utility company received power supplied by the wind farm, and National Grid’s mainland cable, for about two hours. It was part of  testing the interconnection system. The island won’t begin receiving wind-generated energy regularly until May.

“Yesterday’s energy flowing from the wind farm and through a cable that reaches to the mainland is the culmination of so many years of effort on the part of so many people,” said former Town Manager and BIPCo Transition Team member Nancy Dodge. “Congratulations to all. May 1 is the next milestone in this amazing journey.”

Second Warden Norris Pike said, “It’s very rewarding, as it’s been a long road coming to this; over 35 years between the BIPCo purchase, the cable and the wind farm. The thing that struck me the most was the silence; no engine noise, while the island was powered up. It was really remarkable to witness it all.”

First Warden Ken Lacoste said, “I’m very excited that another milestone has been reached. Looking forward to full functionality of the connections.”

“I think its great,” said former First Warden Kim Gaffett. “And I’m proud of the part our island community played in this development of renewable energy for the country. I’m anxious to see where this industry takes us in the next 10 years.”

Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said, “It was a historic moment and the beginning of a clean energy future for a very special part of the world.”

BIPCo Interim President Jeffery Wrightsaid, “This was a monumental event that we downplayed so as to not take away from our full time cutover and celebration on May 1.”

National Grid spokesman Michael Masseur said, “Testing was successfully completed yesterday on the new interconnection between National Grid’s substation and BIPCo, during which time the island’s electric demand was supported by the Block Island Wind Farm and the interconnection to the mainland power grid. BIPCo and National Grid coordinated the test and the interconnection performed as expected. Further coordination will be required once BIPCo transitions from diesel generators to the National Grid interconnection in early May.”

Wright said, “There was ample wind generation, so all of the flow came from wind turbines, fed into the BIPCo system, and then the remaining energy went to the mainland via the cable. I think (Deepwater Wind Project Manager) Bryan Wilson said they were at full output of 30-megawatts, and we took about .7-megawatts, or 700 kilowatts, and the remaining 29-megawatts went onto the mainland cable.” 

“We shouldn't need any further testing now,” noted Wright. “We are ready for May 1, and look forward to the silence in the generator plant. The generators and staff have done a great job for decades but it'll be nice to reduce our fuel usage, emissions, and provide our customers with lower priced energy.”