State with ambitions as wind-energy hub seeks to lure more

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island approved tax credits Monday to lure a third major offshore wind company to the state as part of an effort to become a hub for the industry.

The first U.S. offshore wind farm began operating off Block Island, Rhode Island, in late 2016, and Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to the industry to grow in the state.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corp. approved nearly $900,000 in tax credits over 10 years for Boston Energy, which plans to open its U.S. headquarters in Providence. The British company must maintain at least 52 full-time jobs in the state for at least 12 years.

Raimondo said Tuesday that the development is "further proof that we're well-positioned to be the hub for this growing industry."

Raimondo announced in June that another British wind turbine maintenance company, GEV Wind Power, will locate its U.S. headquarters in Rhode Island and create about 125 jobs.

The Danish offshore wind company Orsted bought Providence-based Deepwater Wind last year. Its major U.S. hubs are Providence and Boston. Deepwater Wind is the developer that opened the wind farm off Block Island.

It's a "recent trend" for global offshore wind companies to be opening headquarters in Rhode Island, state Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said Tuesday, and the state should continue offering tax credits and incentives, promoting ocean science expertise at local universities, and being proactive on renewable energy.

Pryor met with executives from both Boston Energy and GEV in England in May during a trip designed to attract offshore wind companies.

Pryor, who visited Denmark this month to meet with offshore wind executives there, said that he continues to pursue companies around the world and that he's speaking with Orsted about increasing its presence in Rhode Island. Raimondo and Pryor met with Orsted's global leadership on Tuesday in Newport.

Rhode Island is also home to several smaller companies that supply offshore wind products and services.

"We are deliberately and definitively working on the development of this industry through trade missions and through the fostering of homegrown companies," Pryor said.