Construction begins on nation's 1st offshore wind farm off of Rhode Island; officials to visit

EnergyAssociated Press

Construction has begun off Rhode Island's coast on the nation's first offshore wind farm.

Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island. It hopes to power 17,000 homes as early as next year.

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It began attaching the first of the steel foundations to the ocean floor Sunday. The first one touching the seabed is known in the industry as the "first steel in the water."

Deepwater Wind is taking federal and state officials and other project supporters to the site by boat Monday to celebrate the milestone.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper and Gov. Gina Raimondo plan to attend.

The foundations will rise about 70 feet above the waterline, about three miles off southeastern Block Island.