• Can Renewable Energy Power an Island?

Portable/Field Testing

Can Renewable Energy Power an Island?

Sep 03 2016

In the last few decades, the rise of renewable energy has been exciting and impressive. There has, however, been concerns about the limits of sources like wind power, solar power and biofuel. So far, they have only been used to complement the force of fossil fuels like coal. But now, an island in the United States might just have provided a pivotal turning point. Read on to find out how Block Island has developed its renewable energy capabilities.

Where in the world?

Block Island, in the Atlantic Ocean, is located just 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. It’s just ten square miles in size, but is home to over a thousand people. And now it’s home to one of the most notable wind farms in the world.

With just five wind turbines, the Block Island Wind Farm will produce up to 30 megawatts of energy for 17,000 homes across the state of Rhode Island. It will diversify the energy supply of the state and could reduce energy costs by up to 40%. However, what’s exciting about Deepwater Wind’s latest project is that it will actually provide electricity to the whole of Block Island.

Turning point

The high energy potential from so few wind turbines is due to the location. Its offshore Atlantic site means it will pick up stronger winds, which will also be more stable. One of the problems with UK wind farms is they often don’t have a suitable wind speed to be efficient.

Could this be the start of a big change? The UK and Europe currently have over a hundred wind turbines offshore, with 21 projects planned in the US. At the end of 2016 the Block Island Wind Farm will begin producing electricity to power Block Island and some of Rhode Island. Its success could encourage other parts of the world to follow suit.

Moving forward

With exciting technological developments in renewable energy, there is definitely growing potential. Renewable energy production is predicted to grow more than twice as fast as coal-fired electricity going towards 2020. In 2014, the UK’s proportion of electricity produced by renewable sources moved up to a record 25 percent.

So it makes sense that governments, energy companies, construction firms and consumers should work together to benefit from these greener energy sources. To achieve this, there are some important things that need to be considered. The different roles and opportunities in the process are discussed in ‘Thriving in the Renewable Energy Economy’.


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