Wind powered | Features | independentri.com

Even before generating their first kilowatts of electricity, the five giant wind turbines under construction as part of the Block Island Wind Farm have certainly generated their share of discussion among Rhode Islanders. Americas first offshore wind farm has been controversial from the beginning, but its owner, Deepwater Wind, has assured residents the turbines will reduce energy bills on Block Island by 40 percent, reduce air pollution across southern New England, and provide jobs to more than 300 workers. The project also could help shift the state toward cleaner energy and a greener economy.

A number of local companies saw a business opportunity in the wind farm and are already benefiting, even before construction of the turbines is completed. Heres a look at three businesses on the ground floor of the project, each ensuring their companies will have staying power.

Rhode Island Fast Ferry

Charlie Donadio Jr. has been paying close attention to the wind energy industry for many years. The owner and president of Rhode Island Fast Ferry, which provides high-speed ferry service from Quonset to Marthas Vineyard, did his homework. He knew an offshore wind farm would need a specially constructed boat to transport workers and cargo to the site during construction of the wind turbines and to transport maintenance workers during the life of the facility. So soon after the wind farm was approved, he negotiated a deal with Deepwater Wind to build the boat they would need.

Christened in May....

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