Wind pays off

Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm.

Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

The Danish energy company Orsted’s purchase of Providence-based Deepwater Wind from D.E. Shaw & Co., an investment company, for $510 million certainly testifies to the growing value of wind power, especially in the reliably wind-rich area off southern New England. Congratulations to the Deepwater Wind folks for their visionary and complicated risk-taking -- economically, technologically, politically and regulatorily.

I noted that the companies said that, Deepwater, now a subsidiary, would be based in Providence and in Boston; the latter city is where Orsted’s North American operations are based. But I predict that soon the Providence office will be closed and everything will be run from Boston (and Denmark). As a PR move in acquisitions, companies often assert that much important stuff will remain in the home town of the acquired entity. But the savings and efficiencies from consolidation almost always trump such sweet ideas sooner rather than later.

If anything, Newport, not Providence, might be the best town for a second headquarters: It’s closer to planned big wind farms south of New England. And Aquidneck Island, like Greater Providence, has lots of engineers.

By the way, wind turbines, though far, far better than burning fossil fuel, can raise air temperatures in wind-farm areas by half a degree or more by interrupting wind flows, say recent studies. All energy production has downsides. Consider, for example, that solar arrays require a lot of space, which leads to clearing woodlands in some places. Abandoned big-box store parking lots and landfills are among the best sites, besides rooftops, of course.