Deepwater Wind reaches milestone
A crowd of 150 people, including state and federal officials, braved rough seas and a thunderstorm to get an up close and personal view of the first of five steel wind farm foundations sitting three miles off the southeast of Block Island. Deepwater Wind, the company in charge of building the wind farm, chartered the trip out to the offshore site aboard the Rhode Island Fast Ferry.
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski stood beside Rhode Island Gov. Gina Riamondo, and other officials, as she cut the ribbon on the bow of the ferry celebrating the installation of the wind farm foundations.
Raimondo said that it was an "exciting" day for Rhode Island. "It's just the beginning," said Raimondo, who touted the creation of 300 jobs in the Ocean State that will be needed for the wind farm construction. "It's just the tip of the iceberg for what's to come."
"It's awesome. It's so cool to see this project go from theory to reality, and actually see the physical structure in the water," said Grybowski.
Grybowski, who was there in the afternoon on Sunday, July 26, when the first foundation was placed in the ocean, said that "he was anxious and hopeful" that there would be steel in the water today.
State Sen. Susan Sosnowksi said that it was a "huge day" for the installation of the offshore wind farm. "It's been a long time coming, but it's always been the right thing to do."
Kim Gaffett, who was First Warden when the project was first conceived, said that seeing the foundation in the water was "thrilling." Gaffett, who was aboard for the trip, said she was moved by seeing the project "come to fruition."
First Warden Ken Lacoste said that Deepwater Wind has "overcome obstacles... It shows the commitment to the process and to the project."
"What an operation," said Second Warden Norris Pike.
Block Island Power Company (BIPCo) co-owner Cliff McGinnes, Sr. said that it was "pretty exciting" seeing the foundation in the water. McGinnes said that his meeting with Deepwater Wind's Clint Plummer at the Capital Grille in Providence in 2008 was part of the impetus for the project.
McGinnes and Pike said that the project had been a long time coming.
BIRA President Bill Penn said "it was typical Block Island" to be visiting the offshore site during a thunderstorm and rough seas. Penn said that he witnessed the installation of the first foundation from the Southeast Lighthouse on Sunday afternoon. "I watched the setting of the first base," he said. "It was quite impressive."
See the full story of the trip to the Block Island Wind Farm in this week's edition of The Block Island Times.