Wind Brings Small Savings to Block Island

Officials say ratepayers are "noticing" the savings

It’s been nearly three months since Block Island turned off its diesel generators, and became powered by the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

The undersea cable, which brings the clean wind generated power to the island, is performing well this summer, says Jeffrey Wright of the Block Island Power Company.

He says back-up generators, kept on standby in the event of power disruption, have remained idle as a result.

Block Island Power Company also provided sample utility bills, showing that island ratepayers are saving money since the switch to wind.

A sample utility bill from 2014, based on 500kWh usage, showed a charge of $277.88.

A 500kWh bill from 2016 revealed a charge of $218.23.

In those two years, remember, diesel was the source of power on the island.

A summer 2017 bill for 500kWh, powered by the wind, shows a charge of $199.53.

That comes out to roughly a 28 percent savings over 2014, and a nearly 9 percent savings over last summer.

Initially when the project was proposed, Deepwater Wind told residents they could expect a 40 percent drop in their utility bills. When the wind farm came online in May local officials said the savings would likely be closer to 25 percent.

Wright says that "the ratepayers are noticing the savings and everyone seems even more delighted with the stabilized rate and predictability."

Several companies are now vying to build offshore wind farms in the waters off of Massachusetts, mainly well south of the Cape and Islands.

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