According to a recent news report, National Grid has made millions off a transmission line that brings electricity to the mainland of Rhode Island from five wind turbines built by Deepwater Wind off the coast of Block Island. From 2017 through 2021, Rhode Island electric customers have been charged about $109.7 million for this transmission line. Furthermore, from 2017 through 2020, Rhode Island electric customers have paid about $92.7 million in above market costs for the electricity from Deepwater’s five wind turbines. These costs for its first four full years operation are higher than what were estimated in 2010 when the project was approved (about $53.2 million) or at the time the wind farm went into operation at the end of 2016 (about $72.1 million) . Lastly, the Deepwater Wind project has only produced about 14.5 full-time jobs of which 10.5 are held by Rhode Islanders.

In 2010, the Public Utilities Commission rejected the Deepwater Wind project because of its cost. However, the General Assembly, with the support of Governor Carcieri, passed a law essentially requiring that the Deepwater Wind project with the transmission line be approved. Republicans in the General Assembly opposed the bill and warned about its cost. 

Recently, the General Assembly passed a law which has been signed by Governor McKee, legally requiring Rhode Islanders to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they produce. Once again, Republicans in the General Assembly opposed the bill, warned about its cost, and were ignored.

The R.I. Republican Party has the following comments:

“The energy experts running the State House never learn. Back in 2010, they pushed through a law requiring the Deepwater Wind project and its transmission line to be built and Republicans warned about the cost. Ten years later, these five wind turbines have already cost us over $200 million. The above market costs for the Deepwater and the cost of the transmission line are higher than was expected, and these costs are still rising. Consider also, amid all this spending the project has only generated about 10 full-time jobs for Rhode Islanders. This year the General Assembly decided to push through a law to legally force Rhode Islanders to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they produce. Once again, Republicans warned about the cost.  Within ten years, it will become painfully obvious just how much more we are paying in energy costs because of this climate bill.”

“The Deepwater project was called a demonstration project, but in reality, it was just a boondoggle. However, the Deepwater Wind project did succeed in demonstrating two things. First, it demonstrated that the people running the State House either don’t know or don’t care how much their energy policies cost consumers.  Second, it demonstrated that green deals are a great way for everyone to make money except for you, the average consumer.”