A key moment for the future of clean energy in America will take place in the frigid waters of the Atlantic in two months.

That’s when the country’s first offshore wind farm will start sending electricity through a submerged cable line to the mainland and into the electrical grid. Sitting three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the farm is supposed to generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes. That may be a tiny number compared to the 23 million homes that the feds want powered by offshore wind by the year 2050, but it’s the precedent that counts.

The potential for offshore wind power is enormous. The Department of Energy thinks offshore wind could one day deliver twice as much electricity as Americans used to keep the grid stable last year. The federal government needs offshore wind to deliver on this promise if it’s going to have a shot at fulfilling its commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement.