Learn About Wind

Wind in Rhode Island

Wind turbines use the energy of moving air to generate electricity. Turbines produce more power at higher wind speeds, which are typically found in areas with high elevations and low surface roughness. In Rhode Island, the most significant wind energy resources are concentrated in areas along the coast and offshore in ocean waters.

The use of wind to generate electricity is a relatively new undertaking in Rhode Island. The first commercial-scale wind turbine was installed in 2006 at the Portsmouth Abbey. As a small and densely populated state, Rhode Island does not lend itself to large onshore wind farms of the type seen in the Midwest and western states. Instead, Rhode Island’s wind power potential lies in municipal or small-scale commercial projects consisting of one or a few wind turbines, and in offshore wind farms.

As of December 2016, the Ocean State had an estimated installed wind capacity of approximately 23 megawatts (MW), with 21 systems 100 kilowatts (kW) and greater. In 2016, Deepwater Wind LLC completed construction on the nation’s first offshore wind installation, a five-turbine, 30 MW wind farm in state waters off the coast of Block Island. A much larger offshore wind project—up to 1,000 MW—is planned for development in federal waters off of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.