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A Hedge Fund Helps Power a Wind Farm Off Coastal Rhode Island

Block Island Wind Farm, 3.8 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S.

Located 3.8 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island Wind Farm consists of five deep-water wind turbines capable of delivering up to 125,000 megawatts an hour of energy to Rhode Island residents. It is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States and operates out of sight from Rhode Islanders. The farm commenced operations late last year and was built by Providence-based Deepwater Wind, whose principal owner is a unit of the $35 billion New York hedge fund, D. E. Shaw & Co.

D. E. Shaw has been making investments in clean energy since the mid 2000s and was a significant investor in Deepwater Wind in 2008 when Rhode Island’s then-Governor, Donald Carcieri, selected the firm to develop the offshore project. D. E. Shaw employees Bryan Martin and David Hang serve on the board of the company.

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Since winning the Rhode Island contract, Deepwater has been selected for wind farm developments off the South Fork of Long Island, in Maryland, and in New Jersey. It also has the rights to a 256-square mile site in the Atlantic Ocean and is building a solar farm in Connecticut.

Block Island Wind Farm is the only Deepwater Wind project on line.

It breezed through the severe Winter Storm Stella in March, which CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said, “really put the wind farm through its paces and operated it at full-throttle.”

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