Despite some recent financial setbacks, U.S. offshore windpower 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 buildout 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 (56 kilometers) east of Montauk Point, New York. It will be New York’s first offshore wind farm.
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.
“This is just the beginning of what offshore wind can do,” she said in a statement.