Breaking ground at a construction site in Rhode Island earlier this April, the Block Island Wind Farm represents a major milestone for the United States. It will mark the first offshore wind project in America, thanks in part to the dedication of Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind.
Established in 2008, Deepwater Wind’s mission is to develop and build a portfolio of large-scale offshore wind projects in the North Eastern part of the U.S. The company’s Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled to provide 30 MW of offshore wind energy, enough to power over 17,000 homes on the island and the mainland.
“We are on the cusp of bringing offshore wind from theory to reality in the U.S.,” Grybowski said in a recent press statement. “We’re incredibly proud of our position at the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind industry.”
With a resume that includes serving as Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State of Rhode Island, Grybowski is known for his commitment to innovative business strategies and cutting-edge public policies. He’s advised on the formation and implementation of executive government policies and even practiced corporate law at firms in New York.
Now as the manager of Deepwater’s offshore wind and transmission projects, he has been at the forefront of shaping the commercial structures and government policies necessary to support offshore wind in the U.S., which hasn’t been an easy task if Cape Wind serves as an example.
Unrelated to Deepwater Wind, the Cape Wind project was an approved offshore wind farm project off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts that never made it to the construction phase because of alleged contractual and financial delays.
Where Cape Wind had planned for over 100 turbines, Block Island Wind Farm is starting off on a much smaller scale and will only consist of just five 6-MW turbines. Grybowski, who has been involved in the project from day one, credits the initial small size to its success. The plan is to start small and then grow.
“We’re full speed ahead and moving ever closer to ‘steel in the water,’” he said. The Block Island Wind Farm is expected to reach completion in 2016, but the long-term goal is to build a larger wind farm of at least 200 turbines between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.
Grybowski credits commitment and patience as keys to his success. He said Block Island’s permitting process along with finding the right local contractors took time, but so far his expertise has paid off. Block Island is the first U.S. offshore wind project to reach financial close.
“Our goal is not just to build a wind farm,” he said, “Our goal is to build a local industry for years to come.”
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