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Wind turbines off of Block Island first of their kind

The Deepwater Wind project off of Block Island in Rhode Island is the first offshore wind farm in the country. Other similar projects may follow in Massachusetts, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
The Deepwater Wind project off of Block Island in Rhode Island is the first offshore wind farm in the country. Other similar projects may follow in Massachusetts, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

Labor leaders and environmentalists took a boat tour Tuesday of the country’s first offshore wind farm, a five-turbine project off the coast of Block Island in Rhode Island that can supply power for as many as 17,000 homes.

The 30-megawatt Deepwater Wind project opened about six months ago and is a prelude to a much bigger development that’s expected to occur nearby, in Massachusetts waters. A 2016 energy law will require the state’s biggest utilities to buy offshore wind power, and state regulators in Massachusetts are developing rules for how that will happen.

During the next decade, it could bring dozens of windmills to the area south of Martha’s Vineyard.

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Providence-based Deepwater Wind is one of three potential bidders in the Massachusetts process.

The tour on Tuesday was hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, BlueGreen Alliance, and Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council.

(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)