America’s first offshore wind farm began generating electricity on Dec. 12 in the waters near Block Island, RI.

The project now generates enough electricity to supply 17,000 average homes, and a press release recently posted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Washington, D.C. says that along with helping to keep Block Island’s electricity costs down by displacing expensive diesel generators, an unexpected benefit also surface, as local fishermen have reported the newly constructed turbines are already acting as artificial reefs.

Additional American offshore wind projects are in various stages of development off the East, West and Great Lakes coasts and several of these projects could come online before 2030. The overall offshore wind resource potential in the U.S. is estimated to be four times the generating capacity of the entire U.S. electricity grid. The offshore wind industry in Europe is light years ahead of the U.S. offshore industry, and 11,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind contributing to the electricity supply.