First Offshore Wind Farm in U.S. Powers Ahead

15-Jul-2015 BLOCK ISLAND, R.I.—Beloved by locals and tourists for its soaring clay bluffs and unspoiled views, this small New England island is heading toward another distinction: home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

Five towering windmills off the island’s southeast coast are scheduled to begin generating power late next year. The Block Island plan has moved ahead of the Cape Wind project, a much larger turbine farm planned in the waters off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, wind-energy experts said. A contract dispute with local utilities following a slew of legal fights has thrown that 14-year effort into question.

Proponents of the Block Island plan hope it will help jump-start the offshore wind industry in the U.S. The American Wind Energy Association trade group estimates there are 11 projects in 10 states in various stages of development. The U.S. lags behind other parts of the world in developing offshore wind, particularly Europe, which has been tapping the power source for more than two decades. (By JON KAMP, Wall Street Journal)

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