An offshore wind farm in Rhode Island went online Monday, but building it cost $150,000 for every household powered.
Three miles off the coast of Block Island, R.I., the wind farm is currently generating enough electricity to power 2,000 homes, but building the five turbines cost $300 million. That’s roughly $150,000 per household just to build the turbines, not to operate them.
To put this in some perspective, the U.S.’s newest nuclear reactor, Watts Bar Unit 2, cost $4.7 billion to build but powered 4.5 million homes. That’s only about $1,044 per household, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s calculations. This means powering a home with the Block Island wind farm is almost 144 times more expensive than powering a home with the newest U.S. nuclear reactor.
The extremely high cost of offshore wind doesn’t worry environmentalists and progressives however, because, as Salon.com says about the project, “it’s the precedent that counts.” The wind farm is eventually supposed to generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes.
Deepwater Wind’s five turbines began generating power in December.
Offshore wind power is expensive because installing and maintaining any kind of infrastructure underwater is extremely difficult. The salt water of the ocean is incredibly corrosive and makes operating such facilities difficult and expensive.
A larger offshore wind farm in New York will cost anywhere from $25,000 to $15,625 for every home it powers, according to calculations previously made by The DCNF.
Despite the extremely high cost, federal officials want to power 23 million homes with offshore wind by the year 2050. Offshore wind is so pricey that early investors, like Germany, plan to stop building new turbines to lower the costs of electricity. Electricity is so comparatively cheap in most parts of the U.S. that offshore wind isn’t generally necessary.